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Full text of "Recollections of an Irish rebel : the Fenian movement. Its origin and progress. Methods of work in Ireland and in the British army. Why it failed to achieve its main object, but exercised great influence on Irelandメs future. Personalities of the organization. The Clan-na-Gael and the rising of Easter week, 1916. A personal narrative by John Devoy."

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The  Clan-na-Gael  and  the 
Rising  of  Easter  Week,  1916 





Introduction.   All  Irish  History  Points  to  the  Necessity 

of  Separation  from  the  British  Empire  ....  1 


I     The  Gloom  of  the  'Fifties   6 

II     Fenianism  Started  in  America   17 

III  Burial  of  Terence  Bellew  McManus   22 

IV  The  Movement  Spreads   26 

V     The  Feud  with  the  Sullivans   36 

VI     The  "Irish  People"   41 

VII     Important  Events  in  1864   47 

VIII     When  Billy  Keogh  for  once  was  Merciful   50 


IX  "The  Year  of  Action"    55 

X     Getting  Ready  for  the  Fight   60 

XI     The  English  Government  Strikes   69 

XII     Millen's  Brief  Authority   73 

XIII  The  Rescue  of  Stephens   77 

XIV  The  Fight  Postponed   88 

XV     The  Council  of  War   98 

XVI     The  Last  Chance  Thrown  Away   107 

XVII     Fenianism  Fighting  for  its  Life   112 

XVTII    The  Catholic  Church  and  Fenianism   118 


XIX     Fenianism  in  the  British  Army   128 

XX   "Pagan"  O'Leary    133 

XXI     How  the  British  Army  was  "Organized"   140 

XXII    "Organization"  Systematized  in  the  Army   145 

XXIII  John  Boyle  O'Reilly   152 

XXIV  The  Soldiers  on  Trial   160 


XXV     The  Rising  Doomed  from  the  Start   185 

XXVI     Stepaside  and  Glencullen   193 

XXVII     Filgate's  Personal  Narrative   199 


XXVIII     The  Disaster  at  Tallaght   203 

XXIX     The  Fighting  in  Cork   207 

XXX     Knockadoon  and  Kilclooney  Wood   213 

XXXI     Tipperary's  Effort  Failed   219 

XXXII     The  Siege  of  Kilmallock   223 

XXXIII  Part  Played  by  Clare   229 

XXXIV  Some  Other  Fiascoes   232 


XXXV    The  "Erin's  Hope"  Expedition   235 

XXXVI     The  Manchester  Rescue   237 

XXXVII     The  Manchester  Martyrs   244 

XXXVIII    The  Clerkenwell  Explosion   248 

XXXIX     The  Catalpa  Rescue   251 

XL    The  Fenians  and  the  Irish  Language   261 


XLI     John  O'Mahony    266 

XLII     James  Stephens,  C.  O.  I.  R   272 

XLIII     John  O'Leary   280 

XLIV     Thomas  Clarke  Luby   288 

XLV     Charles  J.  Kickham   304 

XL  VI     O 'Donovan  Ross  a   319 

XL VII     James  J.  O'Kelly   333 

XL VIII     Colonel  Ricard  O'Sullivan  Burke   347 

XLIX     Thomas  Francis  Bourke   353 

L     The  O'Donovan  Brothers   363 

LI     My  Own  Record  and  Antecedents   372 


LII     Reorganized  Fenianism,  1871-1916   392 

LIU     Foreign  Military  Aid  for  Ireland   397 

LIV     First  Interview  with  Von  Bernstorff   403 

LV     Casement  and  the  Irish  Volunteers   407 

LVI     Casement  Goes  to  Germany   416 

LVII     English  Plot  to  Murder  Casement   423 

LVIII  Casement  Partially  Successful  in  Germany...  431 

LIX     "Butting  in"  on  the  Clan-na-Gael   442 

LX     The  First  Irish  Race  Convention   449 

LXI     Ireland  Decides  on  Insurrection   458 

LXII     German  Prerogatives  Violated   466 

LXIII     Casement  Executed  by  the  English   472 

LXIV     The  Philosophy  of  "Easter  Week"   479 


Devoy,  John  Frontispiece 

Davis,  Thomas   10 

Mitchel,  John   16 

Denieffe,  Joseph   20 

Kelly,  Colonel  Thomas  J   58 

Stephens,  James    78 

O'Reilly,  John  Boyle   152 

Manchester  Martyrs   244 

Breslin,  John  J   256 

O'Mahony,  Colonel  John   266 

O'Leary,  John   280 

Luby,  Thomas  Clarke   288 

Kickham,  Charles  J   304 

Rossa,  Jeremiah  O'Donovan   320 

"Cuba  Five",  The   330 

Burke,  Colonel  Ricard  O'S   348 

Clarke,  Thomas  J   392 

Casement,  Sir  Roger   408 

MacDermott,  Sean   458 

Connolly,  James   464 

Pearse,  Padraic   474 


In  the  death  of  John  Devoy  (born  1842— died  1923)  there 
passed  from  this  mortal  stage  one  of  the  most  remarkable 
figures  in  Irish  history.  Blessed  with  many  talents,  he  devoted 
them  all,  tirelessly  and  unselfishly,  to  one  idea,  and  to  one  ideal. 

For  more  than  sixty  years,  in  storm  and  in  sunshine,  in  sick- 
ness and  in  health,  he  dreamed  and  toiled  and  worked  for  the 
cause  of  Ireland  a  Nation.  His  services  covered  a  wide  range  of 
activities  and  only  with  the  passing  years  will  the  full  effects 
of  his  efforts  be  known  and  appreciated. 

Irish  patriots,  as  far  apart  in  their  methods  as  William 
O'Brien  and  Padraic  H.  Pearse,  have  appraised  him  as  among 
the  greatest  of  his  race. 

Mr.  O'Brien,  in  his  "Recollections",  after  ascribing  to  him 
and  Michael  Davitt  the  chief  credit  for  the  Land  League,  said: 

"The  part  played  by  his  co-founder  of  the  Land  League 
movement,  Mr.  Devoy,  is  less  known,  because  the  terms  on 
which  he  was  amnestied  forbade  him  to  return  to  Ireland, 
and  consequently  exposed  him  to  misunderstandings  of 
the  situation  at  home,  which  eventually  made  him  a  bitter 
enemy  of  the  semi-parliamentary,  semi-agrarian  revolution 
he  had  so  influential  a  part  in  launching.  His  hostility 
in  later  days,  however,  ought  not  to  make  us  forgetful  of 
the  sagacity  and  courage  with  which  he  first  rallied  even  the 
extremest  of  the  extreme  men  to  give  a  full  and  fair  trial 
to  Parnell  and  his  methods.  Mr.  Devoy  was  a  born  con- 
spirator, and,  like  all  born  conspirators,  can  never  be  meas- 
ured at  his  true  value  by  the  public.  But  it  is  certain  that, 
in  his  own  special  department  of  swearing  into  the  Revolu- 
tionary Brotherhood  the  soldiers  of  the  Dublin  Garrison, 
in  1865,  he  was  perhaps  the  most  dangerous  enemy  of  Eng- 
land in  the  entire  Fenian  body,  and,  in  some  respects,  not 
altogether  unworthy  to  rank  not  very  far  beneath  Wolfe 

In  the  booklet  issued  as  a  souvenir  of  the  O'Donovan  Rossa 
funeral,  on  August  1,  1915,  there  is  a  preface  written  by  Padraic 
H.  Pearse  (who  himself  after  Easter  Week,  1916,  became  one 
of  Ireland's  patriot  martyrs)  which  contains  the  following  char- 
acteristic sketches  of  the  most  prominent  of  the  Fenian  leaders: 

"O'Donovan  Rossa  was  not  the  greatest  of  the  Fenian 
generation,  but  he  was  its  most  typical  man.  He  was  the 
man  that  to  the  masses  of  his  countrymen  then  and  since 
stood  most  starkly  and  plainly  for  the  Fenian  idea.  More 
lovable  and  understandable  than  the  cold  and  enigmatical 
Stephens,  better  known  than  the  shy  and  sensitive  Kickham, 
more  human  than  the  scholarly  and  chivalrous  O'Leary, 
more  picturesque  than  the  able  and  urbane  Luby,  older  and 



more  prominent  than  the  man  who,  when  the  time  comes  to 
write  his  biography,  will  be  recognized  as  the  greatest  of 
the  Fenians — John  Devoy." 

In  these  "Recollections"  John  Devoy  has  recorded  much  of 
the  intimate  but  hitherto  unwritten  story  of  the  Fenian  move- 
ment. He  tells  this  story  of  that  time  with  clearness  and  dis- 
tinction so  far  as  it  can  be  done  within  the  compass  of  a  single 
volume.  For  a  more  comprehensive  grasp  of  what  that  extraordi- 
nary force  meant  to  Irish  national  progress  one  has  to  read  many 
other  books,  including  those  referred  to  in  this  narrative,  which 
describe  the  intolerable  political  conditions  in  Ireland  which  the 
Fenians  had  to  combat.  Such  further  study  is  also  essential  to 
an  appraisal  of  the  varied  handicaps  under  which  they  operated 
and  to  a  due  appreciation  of  the  lofty  patriotism,  indomitable 
courage  and  immolation  of  self  which  animated  them  to  chal- 
lenge, almost  unarmed,  the  might  of  Britain. 

The  lines  by  John  Kells  Ingram  on  the  men  of  'Ninety-Eight 
can,  with  equal  appositeness,  be  applied  to  those  of  the  'Sixty- 
Seven  period: 

"They  rose  in  dark  and  evil  days 
To  right  their  native  land; 
They  kindled  here  a  living  blaze 
That  nothing  shall  withstand". 

Volumes  have  been  and  others  could  be  written  on  the  ac- 
tivities of  numerous  individuals  cited  in  these  "Recollections"  of 
Devoy,  to  whom,  because  of  the  nature  of  this  work,  he  has  made 
but  passing  reference.  In  the  case  of  Devoy  himself  many 
events  of  momentous  importance  in  the  struggle  for  the  estab- 
lishment of  an  Irish  Republic  and  also  for  the  preservation  of 
liberty  in  the  United  States,  in  which  he  played  a  conspicuous 
part,  are,  for  a  similar  reason,  either  not  dealt  with  herein  or 
received  but  casual  mention. 

Born  in  one  of  the  darkest  periods  of  his  country's  history, 
John  Devoy  lived  to  see  her  emerge  in  great  part  from  her  dis- 
tress and  advance  a  long  way  on  the  road  to  real  independence. 

That  much  of  that  result  is  to  be  attributed  to  him,  is  well 
known  to  those  who  have  been  in  touch  with  Ireland's  efforts 
to  secure  national  freedom. 

Stern,  unbending,  implacable  in  his  course,  he  was  person- 
ally lovable,  gentle  and  simple.  To  the  qualities  and  character 
of  a  leader  of  men,  he  added  in  his  personal  relationships  the 
simplicity  and  likeability  of  youth.  How  much  he  accomplished 
of  the  great  task  to  which  he  devoted  himself,  cannot  yet  with 



exactitude  be  reckoned.  Suffice  it  to  say  now  that  he  set  a 
splendid  example  of  devotion  and  unselfishness  to  the  rest  of 
his  race  that  cannot  be  overlooked,  and  has  carved  his  name 
deeply  upon  the  stone  on  which  are  recorded  the  names  of  those 
who  live  long  after  they  have  passed  into  the  grave. 

Peace  and  honor  to  his  memory. 

Daniel  F.  Cohalan. 



The  Fenian  Movement,  which  had  its  inception  in  Ireland  in 
the  Fifties  of  the  nineteenth  century,  was  a  continuation  of  the 
struggle  which  had  been  maintained  throughout  seven  hundred 
years  against  the  English  invaders. 

Augustin  Thierry,  in  his  History  of  the  Norman  Conquest  of 
England,  describes  the  character  of  this  struggle  better  than  any 
foreign  writer  ever  did  before  or  since.  He  quotes  from  a  letter 
written  to  Pope  John  XXII  in  the  fourteenth  century,  by  Donal 
O'Neill,  Prince  of  Ulster,  as  follows: 

"We  cherish,  at  the  bottom  of  our  hearts,  an  inveterate 
hatred,  produced  by  lengthened  recollections  of  injustices — 
by  the  murder  of  our  fathers,  brothers  and  nearest  kindred — 
and  which  will  not  be  extinguished  in  our  time,  nor  in  that 
of  our  children — so  that,  as  long  as  we  have  life,  we  will  fight 
against  them,  without  regret,  or  remorse,  in  defence  of  our 
rights.  We  will  not  cease  to  fight  against  and  annoy  them, 
until  the  day  when  they  themselves,  for  want  of  power,  shall 
have  ceased  to  do  us  harm,  and  the  Supreme  Judge  shall 
have  taken  just  vengeance  on  their  crimes;  which,  we  firmly 
hope,  will  sooner  or  later  come  to  pass.  Until  then,  we  will 
make  war  upon  them  unto  death,  to  recover  the  independence, 
which  is  our  natural  right;  being  compelled  thereto  by  very 
necessity,  and  willing  rather  to  brave  danger  like  men,  than 
to  languish  under  insult." 

Thierry,  commenting  on  this  letter,  says: 

"This  promise  of  war  unto  death,  made  upwards  of  four 
hundred  years  ago,  is  not  yet  forgotten;  and  it  is  a  melan- 
choly fact,  but  worthy  of  remark,  that  in  our  own  days  blood 
has  flowed  in  Ireland  on  account  of  the  old  quarrel  of  the 
conquest.  The  period  in  futurity  when  the  quarrel  shall  be 
terminated,  it  is  impossible  to  foresee;  and  aversion  for  Eng- 
land, its  government,  its  manners  and  its  language,  is  still 
the  native  passion  of  the  Irish  race.  From  the  day  of  the 
invasion,  the  will  of  that  race  of  men  has  been  constantly 
opposed  to  the  will  of  its  masters;  it  has  detested  what  they 
have  loved,  and  loved  what  they  have  detested.  *  *  * 
This  unconquerable  obstinacy — this  lengthened  remem- 
brance of  departed  liberty — this  faculty  of  preserving  and 
nourishing  through  the  ages  of  physical  misery  and  suffer- 
ing, the  thought  of  that  which  is  no  more — of  never  despair- 
ing of  a  constantly  vanquished  cause,  for  which  many  gen- 
erations 'have  successively,  and  in  vain,  perished  in  the  field, 
and  by  the  executioner — is  perhaps  the  most  extraordinary 
and  the  greatest  example  that  a  people  has  ever  given." 

Thierry  had  access  only  to  English  and  Latin  authorities,  yet 
he  acquired  a  fine  grasp  of  the  Irish  struggle,  and  had  a  clearer 



insight  into  the  real  meaning  and  character  of  events  than  per- 
haps any  modern  historian. 

Strictly  speaking,  the  Irish  did  not  rise  in  every  generation, 
but  they  rose  so  often  that  it  amounted  practically  to  that.  The 
chief  difficulty  of  the  Irish  in  every  effort  to  overthrow  English 
rule  was  lack  of  arms,  which  they  always  had  to  procure  outside 
of  Ireland,  and  they  never  had  enough  at  any  one  time  to  equip 
all  the  men  who  were  willing  to  fight. 

A  person  ignorant  of  history  on  looking  at  the  map  of  Europe 
might  reasonably  conclude  that  Great  Britain  and  Ireland,  two 
islands  situated  close  together  to  the  north-west  of  that  con- 
tinent, ought  naturally  be  friends.  They  would  have  been  if  in- 
habited by  the  same  races,  imbued  with  common  interests  and 
identical  aims.  But,  the  descendants  of  the  Norman-French  con- 
querors of  England  had  the  same  motives  in  invading  Ireland  as 
their  ancestors  had  in  subduing  the  Anglo-Saxons.  They  wanted 
land  for  their  younger  sons,  and  sent  them  to  Ireland  to  carve 
out  estates  with  their  swords  and  make  vassals  of  the  owners. 
The  Saxons  submitted  at  once  because  the  feudal  system  already 
existed  in  England.  The  mass  of  the  people  there  were  already 
serfs,  while  in  Ireland  the  land  belonged  to  the  Clan,  the  clans- 
men were  freemen,  and  the  Chiefs  were  elected  by  their  respec- 
tive Clans. 

The  Anglo-Normans  sought  to  impose  the  feudal  system  on 
Ireland,  and  the  struggle  waged  for  three  hundred  years  was 
mainly  due  to  this.  It  was,  on  the  part  of  the  Irish,  a  fight  for 
existence;  and,  on  that  of  the  English,  an  effort  to  exterminate  a 
race  that  refused  to  submit.  All  Irish  history  bears  out  Augustin 
Thierry's  diagnosis  of  the  case. 

The  last  battle  of  a  virtually  independent  Ireland  was  fought 
in  1603  under  Hugh  O'Neill  and  Hugh  O'Donnell  at  Kinsale, 
where  a  small  Spanish  garrison  was  besieged  by  an  English 
army.  The  Irish  went  down  to  defeat  in  their  effort  to  relieve 
their  Spanish  allies.  After  that  disaster  Ireland  was  at  Eng- 
land's mercy,  and  the  broken  remnants  of  the  Ulster  army  were 
scattered  all  over  Munster.  Elizabeth  confiscated  a  lot  of  land 
and  planted  English  settlers  upon  it.  That  was  the  beginning  of 
Anglo-Irish  landlordism. 

In  1608,  James  I  began  the  Plantation  of  Ulster,  in  order  to 
Anglicize  the  Northern  Province,  although  the  majority  of  the 
new  Colonists  were  Scotch.  When  the  Irish  rose,  in  1641,  it  was 
in  part  only  for  Nationality,  a  considerable  number  of  them 
wishing  to  restore  the  Stuarts  to  the  throne  of  England,  but 



those  favoring  Independence  were  in  the  majority.  Cromwell's 
massacres  included  both  sections.  His  order,  "To  Hell  or  to 
Connacht",  was  equally  impartial.  It  was  not  entirely  success- 
ful, and  Prendergast,  in  his  "Cromwellian  Settlement  of  Ireland", 
says  that  many  thousands  of  his  soldiers  planted  in  Ireland  mar- 
ried Irish  women,  and  that  many  of  their  sons  fought  on  the 
side  of  James  II  in  the  two  years  war  that  followed  his  removal 
from  the  English  Throne. 

The  Penal  Laws  followed  for  nearly  a  century  in  an  attempt 
to  deprive  the  Irish  of  the  right  to  exercise  the  religion  of  their 
choice,  to  deprive  them  of  the  light  of  learning  and  rob  them  of 
their  possessions.  This  horrible  code  was  described  by  Edmund 
Burke  as  "a  machine  of  wise  and  elaborate  contrivance,  and  as 
well  fitted  for  the  oppression,  impoverishment,  and  degradation 
of  a  people,  and  the  debasement  in  them  of  human  nature  it- 
self, as  ever  proceeded  from  the  perverted  ingenuity  of  man." 

The  18  years  of  the  semi-independence  of  the  Irish  Parlia- 
ment from  1782  to  1800  was  won  by  the  Volunteers  by  a  threat 
of  force  at  a  time  when  England's  hands  were  full  and  she  had 
no  army  able  to  cope  with  them.  This  Irish  Parliament  did  not 
represent  the  mass  of  the  people,  as  all  Catholics  were  debarred 
from  entering  it,  but  it  did  wonderful  work  for  Irish  industry 
and  commerce,  and  that  was  William  Pitt's  reason  for  destroying 
it  by  the  most  colossal  bribery  and  corruption. 

The  Rebellion  of  1798  was  Pitt's  excuse,  but  his  real  motive 
was  the  destruction  of  a  commercial  and  industrial  rival,  which 
Ireland  was  steadily  becoming.  The  United  Irishmen  who 
planned  the  Insurrection  were  led  entirely  by  Protestants,  and 
the  greater  number  of  the  Rebels  in  Ulster  were  Presbyterians 
descended  from  the  Scotch  and  English  Colonists  planted  on  the 
soil  by  James  I. 

The  agitation  for  Catholic  Emancipation  and  for  Repeal  of 
the  Union,  under  Daniel  O'Connell,  was  entirely  pacifist.  The 
"monster  meetings"  addressed  by  "The  Liberator"  were  among 
the  greatest  popular  demonstrations  in  history.  One  of  his 
favorite  remarks  to  the  immense  throngs  was:  "He  that  com- 
mits a  crime  gives  strength  to  the  enemy."  Yet  England's  answer 
to  his  peaceful  demand  was  to  arrest  and  imprison  O'Connell  and 
several  of  his  colleagues,  including  Dr.  Gray,  proprietor  of  the 
Freeman's  Journal,  who  was  a  Protestant. 

In  the  harvest  that  just  preceded  the  great  Famine  of  1847, 
Ireland  produced  enough  food  to  supply  double  its  then  popula- 
tion. It  was  the  potato  crop  only  that  failed,  and  the  production 
of  wheat,  oats,  barley,  cattle,  sheep  and  pigs  was  normal.  John 



Stuart  Mill,  the  greatest  political  economist  of  his  time,  and  an 
Englishman,  asserted  that  Ireland  was  capable  of  producing  suf- 
ficient on  her  own  soil  to  feed  20,000,000  people.  But  the  food 
necessary  to  sustain  life  had  to  be  sold  by  the  farmers  to  pay 
the  rackrents.  A  native  Government  would  have  prohibited  its 
exportation,  but  the  British  only  resorted  to  makeshifts  in  the 
form  of  trivial  public  works, — most  of  them  economically  worth- 
less. Instead  of  relieving  the  food  shortage,  it  undertook  to  re- 
lieve a  money  shortage  which  did  not  exist,  and  the  farmers 
who  had  sold  their  crops  to  pay  the  exorbitant  rents  were  only 
given  an  opportunity  to  earn  a  miserable  pittance  making  roads. 

England  had  never  any  right  to  rule  Ireland.  By  the  exer- 
cise of  force  she  compelled  the  Irish  people  to  permit  her  to 
govern  their  country;  then  failed  to  perform  the  essential  func- 
tions of  government.  And,  while  more  than  a  million  Irish 
people  were  starving  or  suffering  from  famine  fever,  the  English 
press  read  them  solemn  lectures  on  political  economy  and  printed 
columns  of  claptrap  about  getting  rid  of  the  "surplus  popula- 
tion." Then  the  London  Times,  which  always  voices  the  prevail- 
ing opinion  in  England,  printed  an  article  rejoicing  over  the  dis- 
aster by  saying:  "They  are  going!  They  are  going!  The  Irish 
are  going  with  a  vengeance.  Soon  a  Celt  will  be  as  rare  in  Ireland 
as  a  red  Indian  on  the  shores  of  Manhattan". 

William  E.  Gladstone,  in  his  speech  in  the  House  of  Commons 
introducing  the  Bill  to  Disestablish  the  Irish  Protestant  Church, 
gave  the  key  to  English  policy  in  Ireland  in  the  clearest  possible 
terms  by  saying  he  was  led  to  do  justice  to  Ireland  by  the  inten- 
sity of  Fenianism.  And  he  explained  what  he  meant  by  citing 
the  Rising  of  1867,  the  Manchester  Rescue,  the  Clerkenwell  Ex- 
plosion and  the  successful  resistance  to  eviction  at  Ballycohey, 
County  Tipperary.  Gladstone  had  read  all  of  Daniel  O'Connell's 
speeches  eloquently  pleading  for  justice  to  Ireland  and  had 
listened  to  some  of  them;  he  was  the  most  enlightened  and 
liberal  English  statesman  of  the  nineteenth  century,  but  this 
was  a  frank  admission  that  peaceful  pleas  had  no  effect  on  him 
and  that  he  was  only  influenced  by  bloodshed,  explosions  and 
violent  breaches  of  the  law.  And  what  he  called  "justice  to  Ire- 
land" was  not  the  concession  of  her  demand  for  Freedom,  but 
the  partial  redress  of  a  grievance  for  which  Ireland  had  not  asked. 
The  Protestant  Church  was  technically  disestablished,  but  was 
endowed  permanently  by  funds  raised  by  the  sale  of  the  Glebe 
Lands.  Gladstone's  confession  was  a  tacit  admission  that  Eng- 
land was  not  actuated  by  a  sense  of  justice;  no  Irishman  could 
have  made  a  stronger  argument  for  the  use  of  physical  force. 



If  England's  policy  were  governed  by  real  statesmanship,  her 
people  and  rulers  would  have  recognized  long  ago  that  Ireland 
will  never  be  satisfied  until  she  regains  her  absolute  indepen- 
dence, and  that  such  independent  status  is  the  first  essential  to 
lasting  friendship  between  the  two  countries. 

History  proves  that  the  only  remedy  for  all  of  Ireland's  ills  is 
Total  Separation  from  England  and  the  setting  up  of  an  Inde- 
pendent Government  having  no  political  connection  whatever 
with  the  British  Empire.  Of  course,  it  is  manifest  that  as  Eng- 
land grew  stronger  and  Ireland  weaker  as  a  result  of  the  alien, 
unjust  and  tyrannical  system  which  England  imposed  on  her, 
political  separation  could  not  have  been  achieved  without  foreign 
aid.  And  even  were  independence  thus  obtained,  an  alliance  with 
England's  conqueror  would  be  necessary  until  Ireland  could  build 
up  sufficient  strength  to  defend  her  sovereignty. 

These  were,  in  substance,  the  reasons  which  influenced  the 
action  of  the  Fenian  Leaders.  Their  predecessors  had  sought 
and  obtained  the  aid  of  Spain  and  France,  and  that  example 
was  followed  in  seeking  the  aid  of  Germany  in  the  World  War. 
The  instalment  of  Freedom  which  Ireland  has  secured  is  due 
entirely  to  this  traditional  policy.  No  concession  made  by  Eng- 
land completely  settled  any  Irish  question, — and  she  never  con- 
ceded anything  except  through  the  use  or  menace  of  force.  It  is 
a  safe  prediction  that  she  never  will,  and  that  the  principles  and 
policy  of  the  United  Irishmen  and  the  Fenians  are  the  only  ones 
that  can  eventually  win. 




After  Emancipation  and  the  Anti-Tithe  Movement,  a  Period  of 
Depression  Set  in — Cardinal  Cullen  Exercised  an  Evil  In- 
fluence on  Politics  and  Education — "National"  Schools 
Denationalized  Irish  Children — Catholic  University  Filled 
with  English  Professors. 

In  order  to  understand  the  Fenian  Movement,  it  is  necessary 
to  give  a  bird's-eye  view  of  the  situation  which  preceded  it. 

The  'Ninety-Eight  Movement,  although  it  failed  in  the  field, 
left  a  spirit  behind  it  which  influenced  the  whole  course  of  events 
during  the  nineteenth  century.  Robert  Emmet's  insurrection  in 
1803  was  followed  by  an  agitation  for  Catholic  Emancipation  led 
by  Daniel  O'Connell,  and  the  Catholic  Association  which  included 
many  of  the  leading  Protestants.  Although  a  peaceful  agitation, 
it  was  characterized  by  many  demonstrations  which  alarmed  the 
British  Government.  The  Irish  soldiers  of  the  British  Army, 
who  had  played  a  leading  part  in  the  expulsion  of  Napoleon's 
Armies  from  Spain,  showed  a  strongly  mutinous  spirit.  As  they 
marched  from  garrison  to  garrison,  they  passed  many  Emanci- 
pation meetings,  and  quite  a  common  incident  was  their  throwing 
up  of  their  caps  and  cheering  for  Emancipation.  As  the  agita- 
tion grew  in  strength,  this  movement  became  more  intense.  The 
Duke  of  Wellington,  who  knew  the  Irish  soldier,  became  Premier 
a  little  before  the  Catholic  Relief  Bill  was  introduced  in  Parlia- 
ment. He  was  not  a  politician  and  was  guided  entirely  by  ex- 
pediency. His  chief  motto  was,  "His  Majesty's  Government  must 
be  carried  on"; — meaning  that  any  measures  necessary  to  that 
end  must  be  passed.  The  Relief  Bill  was  passed  by  an  unwilling 
English  Parliament,  but  it  did  not  really  provide  for  Catholic 
Emancipation.  It  only  enabled  educated  Catholics  to  enter 
Parliament  and  obtain  positions  under  the  Government,  and  left 
the  mass  of  the  people  just  as  they  had  been  before  it;  and  it 
contained  a  clause  which  disfranchised  the  Forty  Shilling  Free- 
holders, the  men  whose  courage  and  self-sacrifice  had  elected 
O'Connell  as  Member  for  Clare  in  1828.  O'Connell's  consent  to 
this  reactionary  measure  was  a  blot  on  his  career,  but  he  was 
not  a  democrat.    King  William  IV,  who  was  a  narrow-minded 



bigot,  objected  to  signing  the  bill,  and  Wellington  said  to  him: 
"I  could  reconquer  Ireland,  but  it  would  be  a  mighty  incon- 
venient thing  for  Your  Majesty's  Foreign  Policy."  The  King  then 
relented  and  signed  the  bill.  Notwithstanding  its  defects,  it  was 
hailed  as  a  triumph  all  over  Ireland.  It  was  a  common  toast  to 
celebrate  the  event: 

"Here's  to  the  goose  that  grew  the  quill, 
That  signed  th'  Emancipation  Bill." 

In  the  meantime,  the  Anti-Tithe  agitation  started  and  con- 
tinued until  after  "Emancipation."  This  movement  consisted 
mainly  of  resistance  to  the  collection  of  tithes.  Crops  were  seized 
when  payment  was  refused.  One  of  the  popular  songs  at  the 
time  had  these  lines: 

"We'll  mount  a  guard  on  barn  and  yard, 
And  we'll  give  them  grape  for  grain." 

The  songs  sung  by  the  people  are  the  best  exponents  of  their 
feeling  and  those  most  popular  in  the  early  part  of  the  Nine- 
teenth Century,  although  crude  in  form,  were  as  patriotic  as 
those  in  the  Young  Ireland  period.  The  immediate  descendants 
of  the  United  Irishmen  in  Kildare  sang  such  ballads  about 
'Ninety-Eight  and  expressed  their  contempt  for  George  IV  in  the 
following  rhyme: 

"As  I  was  a-walkin'  one  day  on  the  Coombe 

I  met  King  George  an'  he  blackenin'  shoes, 
He  rubbed  an'  he  scrubbed  an'  he  blackened  so  fine 
That  I  gave  him  three  ha'pence  for  blackenin'  mine." 

The  favorite  '98  ballad  around  Naas  celebrated  the  Battle  of 
Prosperous,  where  the  barrack  was  burned  down  and  only  one 
man  (an  officer)  escaped  the  slaughter  by  climbing  over  a  wall. 
It  began  thus: 

"On  the  twenty-fourth  of  May 

Before  the  break  of  day 
We  all  got  under  arms  and  to  Prosperous  made  way. 

Steadily  we  marched  under  Captain  Farrell's  orders; 
It's  in  the  town  we  halted  and  set  it  in  a  blaze. 

Bullets  they  were  flying, 

Soldiers  groaning,  dying. 

Smoke  to  the  skies  arising 

And  Swayne  expiring  there." 

I  heard  an  old  man  who  fought  in  the  Rebellion  sing  it  and 
my  grandfather  taught  me  a  portion  of  the  words,  but  I  found  it 
later  in  a  small  volume  of  similar  ballads,  all  crude  but  full  of 
the  fighting  spirit. 

At  Carrickshock,  County  Kilkenny,  in  1831,  a  body  of  men 
working  in  the  fields,  seeing  a  detachment  of  police  returning 



from  one  of  the  customary  seizures,  were  filled  with  sudden  pas- 
sion, rushed  on  the  Peelers  with  scythes  and  pitchforks,  and 
killed  twenty-two  of  them  in  a  few  minutes.  There  were  several 
other  such  incidents  on  a  smaller  scale.  So  the  Government  in- 
troduced a  bill  with  the  ostensible  object  of  abolishing  the  tithes. 
It  did  not  abolish  them,  but  made  them  a  rent  charge  on  the 
estate.  The  landlord  had  to  pay  the  tithes,  and  he  added  them 
to  the  rent  and  sometimes  increased  the  amount.  So  that  the 
tithes  continued  to  be  collected,  but  the  stoppage  of  the  seizure  of 
crops  removed  much  of  the  irritation.  Seven-eighths  of  the 
Irish  people  were  Catholics,  and  among  the  Protestants  were 
hundreds  of  thousands  of  Presbyterians  and  other  Non-Conform- 
ists who  were  forced  to  pay  towards  the  upkeep  of  the  Episcopal 
Church,  so  that  these  Non-Conformists  sympathized  strongly 
with  the  Catholic  resistance  to  the  collection. 

O'Connell,  during  the  campaign  for  the  Repeal  of  the  Union, 
to  a  large  extent  demoralized  the  people  by  his  constant  repeti- 
tion of  the  statement  that  "No  amount  of  human  liberty  is  worth 
the  shedding  of  a  single  drop  of  human  blood".  He  called  his 
organization  the  "Loyal  National  Repeal  Association". 

On  one  occasion  he  wrote  in  a  lady's  autograph  album: 

"Oh,  Erin,  shall  it  e'er  be  mine 
To  raise  my  hand  in  battle  line, 
To  lift  my  victor  head  and  see 
Thy  hills,  thy  vales,  thy  altars  free? 
One  glimpse  of  this  is  all  I  crave 
Between  my  cradle  and  my  grave." 

This  might  lead  one  to  think  that  he  had  in  the  back  of 
his  mind  some  idea  of  using  physical  force.  Militant  threats 
which  he  voiced  in  some  of  his  speeches  conveyed  the  same 
impression,  but  the  inevitable  conclusion  to  be  drawn  from  his 
general  policy  is  that  he  was  a  pronounced  pacifist  and  loyalist. 
He  had  a  habit  of  saying  to  the  crowds  at  the  Repeal  meetings: 
"If  I  want  you  to  meet  me  at  such  a  time,  will  you  answer  my 
call?",  or  words  to  that  effect,  and  a  voice  in  the  crowd  would 
shout:  "Will  we  bring  our  pikes,  sir?"  to  which  he  always  replied 
with  a  variation  of  his  "No  drop  of  blood"  motto. 

The  test  came  at  the  projected  meeting  at  Clontarf  in  1843. 
The  Government  waited  until  all  preparations  for  the  meeting 
had  been  made,  then  "proclaimed"  it,  and  massed  a  large  body 
of  troops  in  Dublin  for  its  suppression.  Had  the  meeting  been 
held,  there  would  have  been  unquestionably  a  massacre  of  the 
people,  although  there  was  some  doubt  about  the  troops  obeying 
orders.  But,  O'Connell  sent  messengers  out  along  the  roads  lead- 



ing  to  Dublin  to  warn  the  men  marching  in  to  return,  which 
they  did  very  unwillingly. 

In  1841,  Thomas  Davis,  Charles  Gavan  Duffy,  John  B.  Dillon, 
and  other  young  men  of  great  intellectual  capacity  had  joined 
O'Connell's  Repeal  Association.  The  next  year  they  established 
the  Nation,  and  through  it  conducted  a  campaign  of  intense 
nationalism.  This  group,  which  later  included  John  Mitchel, 
Thos.  Francis  Meagher,  Richard  O'Gorman,  Michael  Doheny, 
James  Clarence  Mangan,  Richard  Dalton  Williams,  Thomas 
Devin  Reilly  and  others,  became  known  as  the  Young  Irelanders, 
and  their  influence  on  the  national  life  of  Ireland  was  deep  and 

Then  the  Split  in  the  Repeal  Movement  in  1847,  when  the 
Young  Ireland  leaders  seceded,  altered  its  whole  character. 
John  O'Connell  (the  "Liberator's"  son) ,  an  incompetent  man,  as- 
sumed to  speak  for  his  father,  whose  health  was  rapidly  failing, 
and  his  arrogance  offended  the  high-spirited  Young  Irelanders. 
These  men  had  been  carrying  on,  through  newspaper  articles, 
poetry,  and  the  "Library  of  Ireland"  (a  series  of  small  historical 
and  biographical  works) ,  propaganda  which  really  aimed  at  the 
use  of  physical  force.  One  has  only  to  glance  at  their  writings 
to  see  this;  but  they  made  no  preparation  whatever  for  the 
eventual  use  of  force.  Finally  the  great  Famine  of  1847  forced 
their  hand,  and  they  seceded  from  Conciliation  Hall  after  spec- 
tacular debates,  during  which  Thomas  Francis  Meagher  deliv- 
ered his  famous  "Sword  Speech".  Soon  after  the  secession,  a 
Split  occurred  among  the  Young  Irelanders  through  the  quarrel 
between  Charles  Gavan  Duffy  and  John  Mitchel.  Mitchel  started 
a  rival  paper  to  the  Nation  called  the  United  Irishman,  and 
openly  preached  rebellion.  Mitchel's  articles  advocated  a  de- 
structive policy,  his  aim  being  the  utter  eradication  of  all  the 
rottenness  superimposed  on  Ireland  by  English  Governments  over 
the  centuries.  While  the  great  mass  of  the  rank  and  file  of  the 
people  remained  loyal  to  O'Connell,  very  many  of  the  younger 
men  were  converted  to  the  views  of  the  Young  Irelanders;  but  the 
conflict  between  Duffy  and  Mitchel  largely  nullified  their  propa- 
ganda. Mitchel  admitted  in  New  York,  in  a  conversation  with 
the  released  Fenian  prisoners  just  arrived  from  England  in  1871, 
that,  looking  back  over  that  period,  he  believed  the  secession 
was  a  mistake;  that  O'Connell  himself  was  then  doomed;  that 
his  son  John  was  an  impossible  leader,  and  that  the  leadership 
would  have  naturally  devolved  on  the  Young  Irelanders  if  they 
had  had  only  the  patience  to  wait. 

John  Mitchel  started  a  new  movement  that  alarmed  the 
British  Government.  He  established  in  the  Ulster  Counties,  the 



Protestant  Repeal  Associations,  and  was  making  steady  progress 
when  the  Government  decided  to  take  drastic  action.  These 
bodies  included  many  former  Orangemen,  and  a  large  number  of 
Presbyterians,  and  had  they  been  allowed  to  go  on,  could  not 
have  failed  to  produce  salutary  effects.  But  the  Government 
arrested  Mitchel  and  tried  him  for  Treason-Felony — a  term  in- 
vented by  Lord  John  Russell,  the  introducer  of  the  bill,  for  the 
purpose  mainly  of  degrading  Mitchel  and  classing  opponents  of 
English  Rule  with  ordinary  criminals.  The  scene  in  Green  Street 
Courthouse  on  the  day  of  Mitchel's  conviction  was  sensational, 
many  prominent  men  present  standing  up,  raising  their  hands, 
and  saying  in  substance:  Mitchel,  we  are  with  you!  That  made 
some  believe  that  a  rescue  was  intended,  but  none  was  at- 

Then  the  utter  failure  of  William  Smith  O'Brien's  attempt  at 
insurrection  in  Tipperary,  called  contemptuously  by  the  English 
press,  "The  Widow  McCormick's  Cabbage  Garden  Rebellion", 
disheartened  the  people,  whose  spirit  had  already  been  shattered 
by  the  Famine,  and  the  exodus  had  already  begun. 

John  Mitchel,  in  his  "Last  Conquest  of  Ireland — Perhaps", 
records  an  incident  typical  of  the  period.  At  Killenaule,  in 
the  County  Tipperary,  John  B.  Dillon  (father  of  the  Land  League 
leader)  was  in  command  of  a  body  of  Smith  O'Brien's  followers 
who  had  thrown  up  a  barricade  across  the  village  street.  A 
body  of  the  8th  Royal  Irish  Hussars  approached;  the  officer  rode 
up  and  ordered  the  barricade  to  be  opened.  Dillon,  who  had  his 
orders  from  Smith  O'Brien,  replied  that  if  the  officer  gave  his 
word  of  honor  that  he  had  no  warrants  for  arrest,  he  might  pass. 
The  Hussar  captain,  however,  in  an  imperious  tone,  demanded 
to  be  let  through.  James  Stephens — then  a  young  man  of 
twenty- one — immediately  raised  his  rifle  and  covered  him;  his 
finger  was  on  the  trigger.  But  Dillon  ordered  Stephens  to  lower 
his  rifle,  and  having  removed  some  of  the  carts,  Dillon  himself 
led  the  officer's  horse  through  as  a  sign  that  the  soldiers  were 
not  to  be  molested.  Thus  ended  that  affair.  Many  years  later, 
I  was  told  by  old  soldiers  that  the  men  of  the  troop,  who 
were  all  Irish,  were  ready  to  join  the  people  if  they  resisted,  but 
of  course  Dillon  didn't  know  this.  A  large  number  of  people  were 
looking  on  waiting  to  see  the  result  of  the  incident,  and  they 
decided  that  the  Rebels  didn't  want  to  fight.  Had  Stephens  been 
allowed  to  shoot  the  captain,  the  insurrection  would  have  been 
begun  then  and  there,  with  a  small  victory  for  the  Rebels,  and 
the  'Forty-Eight  Movement  certainly  would  not  have  ended  with- 
out a  standup  fight.  A  physical  force  movement  in  Ireland  which 




ends  without  a  fight  has  a  more  demoralizing  influence  on  the 
people  than  a  fight  that  fails. 

The  Young  Ireland  leaders  were  arrested,  tried  by  packed 
juries,  and  transported  to  Van  Dieman's  Land,  with  the  excep- 
tion of  Duffy,  who  remained  in  Ireland,  and  a  few  others  like 
Michael  Doheny,  Richard  O'Gorman  and  John  Blake  Dillon,  who 
escaped  to  America;  so  that  the  people  were  left  without  lead- 
ers. A  period  of  utter  depression  followed  the  Young  Ireland 

Then  in  the  early  'Fifties  an  agitation  for  Tenant  Right  was 
started.  It  was  led  by  Charles  Gavan  Duffy,  George  Henry 
Moore,  Frederick  Lucas  (an  English  convert  to  Catholicism),  and 
John  Francis  Maguire,  editor  of  the  Cork  Examiner.  One  of  its 
chief  features  was  independent  opposition  by  a  group  of  Mem- 
bers in  Parliament,  and  another  was  the  holding  of  public  meet- 
ings throughout  the  country.  Protestant  farmers  were  joining 
the  movement  in  large  numbers,  and  this  alarmed  the  English 
Government,  because  a  union  of  Catholics  and  Protestants  for 
any  purpose  might  lead  to  future  union  for  Independence.  One 
incident  was  characteristic.  Rev.  David  Bell,  an  Ulster  Presby- 
terian minister,  who  later  became  a  Fenian  and  Editor  of  the 
Irish  National  Liberator  in  London,  was  holding  an  umbrella  dur- 
ing a  shower  of  rain  over  a  Catholic  priest  who  was  making  a 
speech,  and  the  English  Government  determined  to  stop  this 
fraternizing  between  the  adherents  of  both  religions. 

Lord  John  Russell  introduced  a  measure  in  Parliament  called 
"The  Ecclesiastical  Titles  Bill",  which  forbade  Catholic  Bishops 
to  sign  their  pastorals  with  the  Cross  attached.  The  British 
Government  knew  very  well  that  every  Catholic  Bishop  in  Eng- 
land as  well  as  in  Ireland  would  rot  in  prison  rather  than  obey 
this  bill  if  it  was  enacted  into  law.  But  there  was  a  group  of 
dishonest  men  among  the  Irish  members  of  Parliament,  led  by 
John  Sadleir,  William  Keogh  and  Edmund  O'Flaherty.  Keogh 
had  made  incendiary  speeches  at  public  meetings  which  were  an 
incitement  to  assassination,  but  he  only  intended  them  as  bids 
for  employment  under  the  Government.  They  seized  the  oppor- 
tunity, by  starting  an  agitation  against  the  Ecclesiastical  Titles 
Bill.  The  Catholic  Bishops  and  the  great  body  of  the  priests  fell 
into  line  behind  them,  and  the  agitation  was  turned  from  the 
Land  Question  to  a  religious  one.  This  caused  the  Protestants  to 
fall  out  of  the  Land  Movement  in  large  numbers,  and  that  was 
precisely  what  the  British  Government  wanted.  Sadleir,  Keogh 
and  O'Flaherty  were  rewarded  for  their  treachery  with  Govern- 
ment jobs. 



Added  to  the  betrayal  of  the  Tenant  Right  Movement  came 
the  failure  of  the  Tipperary  Bank,  which  proved  John  Sadleir  a 

The  defection  "of  the  rotten  Members  of  Parliament  practi- 
cally broke  up  the  Tenant  Right  Movement,  but  that  break-up 
had  other  causes  than  their  action. 

Archbishop  Paul  Cullen  (who  was  later  on  appointed  a  Car- 
dinal) occupied  the  Dublin  See  on  the  death  of  Archbishop  Mur- 
ray. While  he  was  a  good  Bishop  and  a  strict  disciplinarian,  he 
was  a  reactionary  in  politics,  and  entirely  pro-English  in  senti- 
ment. He  speedily  showed  his  hand  in  two  ways:  one  by  bitter 
opposition  to  the  Tenant  Right  Movement,  and  the  other  in  war- 
fare on  the  "National"  Schools.  Archbishop  Murray  was  called 
a  Whig  by  O'Connell,  and  he  was,  but  he  never  denounced  those 
who  differed  from  him  in  opinion.  He  was  one  of  the  Commis- 
sioners of  National  Education,  and  his  place  on  the  Board  was 
offered  to  Archbishop  Cullen,  who  at  once  refused  it.  Up  to 
then,  priests  from  the  Cathedral  had  attended  the  "Model 
Schools"  in  Marlborough  Street  (where  I  was  a  pupil)  on  two 
days  in  the  week,  and  four  hours  of  these  days  were  devoted 
to  religious  instruction,  the  "Protestants"  among  the  pupils  be- 
ing instructed  by  ministers  of  their  own  church  in  a  smaller 
room,  and  the  Presbyterians,  who  were  less  numerous,  in  a  little 
gallery.  Archbishop  Cullen  ordered  the  priests  not  to  attend  the 
schools,  so  that  the  Catholic  pupils  were  left  without  instruction. 
He  then  forbade  parents  to  send  their  children  to  schools  at- 
tended by  Protestants,  on  the  ground  that  sitting  with  Protes- 
tants and  receiving  instruction  through  some  Protestant  teachers 
endangered  their  faith.  This  order  was  disobeyed  so  widely  that 
after  a  short  time  it  became  a  dead  letter.  He  then  ordered  the 
priests  to  refuse  absolution  to  all  parents  who  sent  their  children 
to  the  mixed  schools. 

Two  incidents  which  took  place  at  this  time  helped  Arch- 
bishop Cullen  in  his  fight  against  "mixed  education".  Inspector 
Kavanagh,  who  wrote  a  work  on  arithmetic  that  was  used  in 
the  so-called  National  Schools,  though  it  was  not  the  regular  text 
book,  issued  a  public  statement  endorsing  the  Archbishop's  stand 
and  was  either  dismissed  or  compelled  to  resign.  He  was  out  of 
employment  for  some  time,  but  was  later  appointed  a  Professor 
in  the  Catholic  University. 

Father  McGauley,  author  of  a  book  on  Physical  Science  and 
lecturer  on  the  same  subject  at  the  Teachers'  Training  School 
in  Temple  Street,  was  ordered  to  resign  by  the  Archbishop  and 
did  so.   He  issued  a  public  statement  in  which  he  said  he  had 



long  been  tired  of  "Cullen's  tyranny",  married  a  Protestant 
teacher  and  emigrated  to  Canada.  Inspector  Kavanagh's  state- 
ment, coming  from  an  official  of  the  National  Schools,  was  ac- 
cepted by  many  as  a  confirmation  of  the  Archbishop's  charges, 
and  the  action  of  Father  McGauley  was  taken  as  proof  that  asso- 
ciation with  Protestants  undermined  the  faith  of  Catholics.  But 
during  all  that  time  and  since,  English  Catholics  were  sending 
their  sons  to  Oxford  and  Cambridge  for  their  final  degrees.  So 
separation  of  the  religions  in  the  schools  and  colleges,  on  which 
Dr.  Cullen  insisted,  was  applicable  only  to  Ireland,  where  sec- 
tarian differences  were  a  curse. 

The  National  Schools  were  established  for  the  express  purpose 
of  denationalizing  the  children  of  Ireland.  Certain  school  text 
books  written  by  the  daughters  of  Archbishop  Whately,  were  cal- 
culated to  undermine  Irish  Nationality.  The  songs  taught  to  the 
children  were  mostly  English.  The  pupils  had  to  sing  "God  Save 
the  Queen"  and  "Rule  Britannia"  every  day;  but  Archbishop 
Cullen  made  no  objection  to  that  feature  of  the  schools;  his 
whole  objection  was  to  have  Protestant  and  Catholic  children 
occupy  the  same  seats,  or  to  teachers  attending  the  Training 

In  order  to  enforce  this  new  rule,  which  was  adopted  only 
by  a  majority  of  one  at  the  meeting  of  the  Bishops — Archbishop 
MacHale  of  Tuam  leading  the  opposition — parents  who  refused 
to  withdraw  their  children  were  refused  absolution.  I  remember 
well  the  day  when  my  mother  came  back  from  the  Cathedral 
after  refusing  to  obey  the  order.  So  far  as  the  order  affected 
teachers,  it  meant  that  no  properly  trained  teacher  could  obtain 
employment  in  the  schools  where  the  Parish  Priest  was  the 
Manager  or  Patron.  This  had  a  very  bad  effect  on  primary  edu- 
cation in  Ireland  for  a  whole  generation.  If  Archbishop  Cullen 
had  first  provided  schools,  with  competent  teachers — which,  of 
course,  would  have  been  a  hard  task — the  bad  effect  of  his  action 
would  not  have  been  so  marked.  But  he  was  unable  to  establish 
such  schools  and  he  did  not  try. 

Archbishop  Cullen's  action  in  regard  to  the  Tenant  Right 
Movement  was  most  unjust  and  tyrannical.  He  ordered  all  priests 
to  leave  the  movement,  and  one  of  the  incidents  connected  with 
this  action  was  the  censure  or  suspension  of  the  Callan  Curates, 
Father  O'Keeffe  and  Father  Tom  O'Shea,  who  were  most  effective 
campaigners.  There  was  great  popular  sympathy  with  them,  and 
even  Alexander  M.  Sullivan  attacked  Dr.  Cullen's  action  in  the 
Nation.  All  Catholic  parish  priests  obeyed  the  order,  except 
Father  Quade  of  O'Callaghan's  Mills  in  Clare.   This  action  of 



Dr.  Cullen  encouraged  the  rotten  Members  of  Parliament  in  their 
treacherous  action  to  break  up  the  movement. 

Dr.  Cullen's  own  relatives  were  largely  the  chief  land  grabbers 
in  Kildare,  Carlow,  and  the  Queens  County,  and  others  held  jobs 
under  the  Government.  One  of  his  relatives,  O'Ferrall,  was  for 
many  years  Police  Commissioner  in  Dublin.  The  Tenant  Right 
Movement  sought  only  some  small  reforms  in  the  laws  govern- 
ing land  tenure,  which  fell  very  far  short  of  the  demands  later 
made  by  the  Land  League.  It  had  no  political  aims,  but  he  de- 
nounced it  as  bitterly  as  he  afterwards  condemned  the  Fenians. 

In  the  matter  of  the  higher,  as  distinct  from  primary  educa- 
tion, Archbishop  Cullen  did  much  better,  although  he  left  much 
to  be  desired.  It  was  under  his  guidance  that  the  Catholic  Uni- 
versity was  established,  but  it  was  only  Catholic,  with  very  little 
Irish  in  it.  He  made  Dr.  Newman  (not  then  a  Cardinal)  the 
Rector,  and  whether  Dr.  Newman  or  the  Archbishop  was  respon- 
sible for  the  appointment  of  the  Professors,  they  were  nearly 
all  English,  mostly  converts  who  had  come  over  to  the  Catholic 
Church  during  the  Oxford  Movement. 

Stewart  was  Professor  of  the  Latin  language,  and  Arnold  of 
Latin  and  Greek  literature.  Robertson  was  Professor  of  His- 
tory and  Geography,  and  so  on  all  along  the  line.  While  they 
were  all  very  scholarly  men,  and  liberal  in  their  views  about 
Ireland,  they  were  still  most  decidedly  English  and  took  the  pre- 
vailing English  view  of  everything  in  the  world  at  the  time. 
The  only  Professors  who  were  Irish  were  Eugene  O'Curry,  the 
great  Gaelic  scholar,  who  was  almost  equal  to  his  friend  and 
brother-in-law,  John  O'Donovan,  perhaps  the  greatest  Gaelic 
scholar  of  all  time;  Hennessy,  the  Professor  of  Mathematics,  who 
was  a  member  of  the  French  Academy  of  Sciences;  and  a  Dr. 
O'Reilly,  who  taught  some  branch  of  medical  science.  Hennessy's 
assistant  was  an  ex-National  teacher  from  Dunmanway,  County 
Cork,  named  Hayes,  who  was  almost  as  great  a  mathematician  as 
his  distinguished  superior.  He  was  practically  self-taught,  and 
obtained  his  mathematical  knowledge  in  studies  made  at  a  turf 
fire  in  his  father's  little  thatched  cottage  in  the  evenings  after 
he  had  driven  home  and  fed  the  cows.  L'Abbe  Schurr,  an  Alsa- 
tian, was  the  Professor  of  French,  and  they  could  hardly  get  an 
Englishman  for  that  work. 

This  choice  of  the  professorial  staff  was  equivalent  to  an  ad- 
mission that  classical  scholars  could  not  be  found  in  Ireland, 
although  it  was  notorious  that  many  such  scholars  of  great  ability 
could  be  found  among  the  Irish  priesthood.  The  Chaplain, 
Father  Anderdon,  was  an  Englishman,  as  if  no  Irish  priest  could 



be  found  who  was  fit  for  the  position.  He  was  a  very  able,  learned 
and  liberal  man,  but  he  was  English.  Even  the  University  Church, 
built  beside  the  University,  on  Stephens  Green,  was  of  the  Anglo- 
Saxon  style  of  architecture,  which  was  a  hybrid,  and  had  gone 
out  of  fashion  in  England  itself.  The  University  and  its  chapel 
were  a  simple  illustration  of  the  surrender  of  all  the  old  Irish 
ideals.  It  was  English  in  everything  in  its  early  stages. 

My  knowledge  of  the  professorial  staff  of  the  University  was 
derived  from  attendance  at  the  evening  classes  which  were  estab- 
lished for  a  while  to  enable  young  men  who  were  not  in  the  Uni- 
versity to  prepare  for  matriculation.  The  professors  very  gener- 
ously undertook  to  give  lectures  to  the  classes.  Among  those  who 
were  most  painstaking  was  Robertson,  the  Professor  of  History 
and  Geography.  He  was  a  very  genial  old  man,  and  his  lectures 
were  very  interesting,  but  I  learned  nothing  of  either  geography 
or  history  from  him.  My  geography  I  learned  pretty  thoroughly 
in  the  National  Schools,  which  were  provided  with  a  splendid 
lot  of  maps,  and  my  history  I  got  from  reading  at  home.  One 
evening  when  the  Professor  was  dealing  with  the  Battle  of  Water- 
loo, he  said  that  Wellington  was  a  greater  general  than  Napoleon. 
I  interrupted  him  and  said:  "He  was  not."  I  was  the  youngest 
student  there,  and  the  others  looked  at  me  in  amazement  at 
what  they  thought  my  effrontery  in  contradicting  a  great 
authority  on  history.  But  the  old  professor  took  it  quietly  and 
asked  me:  "Why  do  you  say  that?"  I  replied  that  a  general 
must  be  judged,  not  by  one  battle,  but  by  his  whole  military 
career;  that  the  French  were  outnumbered  and  had  the  English 
beaten  until  Blucher  came  up  with  his  Prussians.  The  old  man 
said  in  a  tolerant  tone:  "Well,  there  is  something  in  that."  In 
those  days  it  was  the  English  habit  to  laud  Wellington  as  the 
greatest  general  of  history.  That  theory  has  died  out  in  England, 
because  it  was  utterly  inconsistent  with  the  facts. 

The  University  was  supported  mainly  by  collections  in  the 
churches.  The  members  of  the  Dublin  Confraternities  went 
around  collecting  the  money  in  the  various  parishes.  The  people 
subscribed  according  to  their  means.  I  gave  two-pence  a  week; 
my  elder  brother  four-pence,  and  my  father  six-pence  a  week. 
When  the  Prince  of  Wales  was  married  in  1862,  all  the  loyalist 
shopkeepers  in  Dublin  put  up  illuminations,  and  the  University 
did  the  same.  One  of  the  students,  J.  P.  McDonnell,  later  editor 
of  a  labor  paper  in  Paterson,  N.  J.,  led  a  group  of  students  which 
tore  down  the  illuminations,  and  he  was  expelled  for  doing  so. 
That  brought  about  a  boycott  of  the  University,  and  hundreds 
of  families  stopped  subscribing.  This  action  against  young 
McDonnell  was  one  of  the  causes  which  led  to  the  stoppage  of  the 



evening  classes,  but  many  of  the  young  men  had  already  been 
matriculated  from  them. 

On  the  collapse  of  the  Tenant  Right  Movement,  Ireland  for 
several  years  was  in  a  state  of  political  torpor.  The  people  lost 
all  confidence  in  peaceful  agitation,  but  had  not  belief  enough 
in  their  own  strength  to  adopt  a  physical  force  policy.  But  while 
that  was  the  attitude  of  the  mass  of  the  grown  up  people,  many 
of  the  boys  were  drinking  in  the  literature  of  Young  Ireland  and 
adopting  the  principles  of  John  Mitchel,  long  before  they  were 
old  enough  to  comprehend  the  significance  of  what  they  were 
doing.  So  that  in  a  few  years  the  country  became  ripe  for  a 
physical  force  movement.  The  dishonest  Members  of  Parliament 
at  the  time  all  took  a  pledge  on  the  hustings  to  vote  for  Tenant 
Right  and  Catholic  Education,  but  the  pledge  was  valueless,  and 
after  getting  into  Parliament  they  did  nothing  but  look  for  Gov- 
ernment jobs  for  themselves  or  their  constituents.  This  created 
prejudice  against  Constitutional  agitation  and  made  the  young 
men  of  the  country  almost  fanatical  in  their  opposition  to  it. 

The  last  time  that  the  clergy  went  to  extremes  in  using  their 
influence  over  the  electorate  was  during  the  Parnell  Split.  The 
exposure  of  the  gross  intimidation  used  by  the  clergy  in  Meath 
in  favor  of  Michael  Davitt,  exposed  by  the  trial  of  the  petition  in 
court,  put  an  effectual  end  to  clerical  domination  in  Irish  poli- 
tics. A  wonderful  change  took  place  later  in  the  attitude  of  both 
bishops  and  priests,  to  which  I  will  refer  in  a  subsequent  chapter. 




Founded  in  New  York  in  1855 — Later  Introduced  Into  Ireland 
by  Joseph  Denieffe — James  Fintan  Lalor — Stephens  Re- 
turned from  Paris  and  Established  the  I.  R.  B. — Movement 
Spread  Gradually  Through  the  Country — The  "National 

The  Fenian  Movement  was  started,  not  in  Ireland,  but  in  New 
York,  in  1855,  although  several  small  organizations  looking  to 
insurrection  existed  both  in  Ireland  and  America  previous  to  that 
time.  James  Fintan  Lalor  might  be  said  to  be  the  real  Father  of 
Fenianism,  as  well  as  of  the  Land  League.  An  exceedingly  clever 
man,  descended  from  the  Chief  of  the  Clan,  which  was  one  of 
the  Seven  Septs  of  Leix,  massacred  at  Mullaghmast,  he  was  in 
poor  health  from  his  birth.  In  1849  he  organized  a  revolutionary 
group  to  which  he  seems  to  have  given  no  name.  Its  member- 
ship was  composed  entirely  of  men  who  had  belonged  to  the 
Confederate  Clubs  in  Dublin  in  1848,  and  he  projected  an  attack 
on  Dublin  Castle  during  Queen  Victoria's  visit  to  Ireland  in  1849. 
That  attempt  is  not  recorded,  so  far  as  I  know,  in  print.  Lalor's 
organization  lasted  after  his  death  in  1853,  and  was  merged  with 
the  Irish  Republican  Brotherhood  by  James  Stephens  in  1858. 

In  America,  the  refugees  of  1848  formed  an  organization  called 
the  Irish  Emigrant  Aid  Society,  with  headquarters  in  New  York. 
It  was  in  existence  when  John  Mitchel  arrived  in  this  country 
after  his  rescue  by  P.  J.  Smyth  in  Tasmania,  and  in  a  continua- 
tion of  his  "Jail  Journal"  in  the  United  Irishman  he  describes  an 
interview  he  had  with  the  Russian  Minister  to  Washington,  with 
a  view  to  securing  Russian  aid  for  Ireland,  as  the  Crimean  War 
was  then  going  on.  As  the  Russians  could  give  no  aid,  the  organi- 
zation fell  away,  but  a  meeting  of  a  few  of  its  members  was  held 
in  1855  in  the  law  office  of  Michael  Doheny  in  Centre  Street,  at 
which  were  present  several  of  the  men  who  subsequently  became 
leaders  in  the  Fenian  Movement  in  America.  Among  them,  be- 
sides Doheny,  were:  John  O'Mahony,  and  James  Roche  who  re- 
turned to  Ireland  and  started  a  Nationalist  paper  in  Galway 
which  did  not  last  long.  Roche  came  back  to  New  York,  and  died 
before  the  Fenian  Movement  attained  much  strength.  Others 
present  were:  Thomas  J.  Kelly,  who  was  afterwards  rescued  in 
Manchester,  in  1867;  Oliver  Byrne,  a  man  having  a  good  theoreti- 




cal  knowledge  of  military  affairs;  Patrick  O'Rourke,  foreman  of 
the  Tribune  pressroom,  afterwards  Treasurer  of  the  Fenian 
Brotherhood  in  the  United  States;  and  General  Michael  Corcoran, 
then  a  Captain  in  the  69th  Regiment. 

The  Know-Nothing  Movement  was  at  that  time  in  full  blast, 
and  Joseph  Denieffe,  disgusted  by  its  activities,  decided  to  return 
to  Ireland.  He  was  a  Kilkenny  man  who  knew  all  about  Stephens 
(then  eking  out  a  poor  living  by  teaching  English  in  Paris) ,  and 
was  a  cutter  in  a  Broadway  tailor  shop.  Hearing  of  his  inten- 
tion, the  meeting  at  Doheny's  office  was  hurriedly  called,  and  it 
was  decided  to  ask  Denieffe  to  introduce  the  Movement  into 
Ireland.   This  was  in  1856. 

Denieffe's  little  book  describes  his  experiences  very  accurately, 
but  does  not  give  the  whole  story.  I  knew  Denieffe  in  Dublin, 
lived  near  him  in  Chicago  in  the  '80's,  and  met  him  frequently 
at  the  house  of  Edward  F.  Dunne  (son  of  the  old  Fenian  leader, 
P.  W.  Dunne) ,  later  Governor  of  Illinois,  and  heard  from  him  his 
full  story.  One  evening  after  returning  to  my  home  I  wrote 
down  from  memory  all  he  had  told  me,  submitted  it  to  him  a  few 
days  later,  and  he  made  many  changes  and  corrections.  I  re- 
wrote the  statement,  and  it  set  forth  much  more  about  his  early 
experiences  in  Ireland  than  is  contained  in  his  book.  Although 
he  wrote  well,  he  was  not  accustomed  to  writing,  and  forgot  many 
rather  important  things  which  he  had  told  me. 

When  John  O'Leary  started  to  write  his  Recollections,  he 
asked  me  to  send  him  the  manuscript,  which  I  did,  but  O'Leary, 
although  a  brilliant  man,  was  very  negligent,  and  he  neither  used 
the  manuscript  nor  returned  it  to  me.  So,  the  records  of  many 
of  the  interesting  details  of  the  early  Fenian  Movement  in  Ire- 
land thus  disappeared. 

When  Denieffe  arrived  in  Ireland,  he  got  into  touch  with  some 
of  the  veterans  of  1848,  among  them  Dr.  Cane  of  Kilkenny,  and 
started  to  organize.  As  he  had  no  funds  he  could  only  admin- 
ister the  pledge  to  the  few  men  whom  he  was  able  to  reach.  They 
included  some  Protestants  in  Armagh  and  Belfast,  where  he 
worked  for  a  time. 

The  progress  made  was  so  slow  that  the  men  he  had  taken  in 
were  losing  confidence.  They  were  holding  a  meeting  one  day 
at  the  house  of  Peter  Langan,  who  kept  a  lath  factory  on  Lom- 
bard Street,  Dublin,  and  were  on  the  point  of  deciding  to  dis- 
band as  Denieffe  had  not  heard  from  America  since  he  left  there. 
James  Stephens,  who,  while  in  France,  had  heard  from  friends 
in  Kilkenny  of  Denieffe's  efforts  at  reorganization,  had  just  re- 
turned to  Ireland  and  got  to  Langan's  place  before  those  as- 



sembled  there  had  reached  a  final  decision.  Penniless  at  the 
time,  Stephens  was  the  most  hopeful  man  among  them,  and  he 
insisted  that  they  should  hold  together  until  they  could  send 
Denieffe  back  to  America  to  procure  financial  aid.  Denieffe 
returned  to  New  York  and  found  that  no  meeting  had  been  held 
since  the  one  he  attended  in  Doheny's  office.  The  men  were 
called  together  again,  and  the  necessity  of  immediate  financial 
aid  to  the  men  in  Ireland  was  explained  to  them.  Captain 
Corcoran,  who  always  was  an  essentially  practical  man,  pro- 
posed that  everyone  present  empty  his  pockets  on  the  table,  and 
the  amount  thus  realized  was,  I  think,  £80,  which  was  given  to 
Denieffe,  who  promptly  forwarded  it  to  Ireland.  This  first  instal- 
ment was  soon  followed  by  other  contributions,  none  of  them 
large,  and  Denieffe  returned  to  Ireland  to  continue  his  work. 

While  Denieffe  was  in  America  looking  for  funds  for  the  or- 
ganization, Stephens  endeavored  to  make  a  living  by  giving 
tuitions  in  French.  He  had  lived  ten  years  in  Paris,  spoke  the  lan- 
guage perfectly,  and  had  a  thorough  knowledge  of  French  litera- 
ture. He  began  by  calling  on  John  Blake  Dillon,  whom,  of  course, 
he  had  known  in  1848,  and  Mr.  Dillon  at  once  engaged  him  to 
teach  French  to  his  two  sons,  John  and  William,  and  recommended 
him  to  other  well-to-do  families.  Among  these  was  that  of  Judge 
Fitzgerald,  who  later,  when  he  learned  that  the  tutor  of  his  chil- 
dren was  the  "Head  Centre"  of  the  terrible  Fenians,  became 
very  indignant  and  reproached  Mr.  Dillon  for  recommending  him. 
That  was  the  way  of  the  Irish  Loyalists  at  the  time.  A  man 
opposed  to  English  rule  was  ostracized  by  them,  he  was  deprived 
of  his  means  of  living  and  "the  bread  taken  out  of  his  mouth." 
Toleration  of  difference  of  opinion  was  unknown  to  that  class, 
and  in  that  respect  they  were  worse  than  the  English.  After  en- 
during centuries  of  persecution,  massacre,  artificial  famine  and 
shutting  out  of  the  light  of  learning,  it  is  almost  a  miracle  that 
the  Irish  Race  survived  with  spirit  enough  to  continue  the 
struggle  for  Freedom.  By  driving  into  exile  the  best  brains  of  the 
Race,  generation  after  generation,  England  undoubtedly  dwarfed 
its  intellect  and  impeded  the  evolution  of  competent  leadership. 
But,  like  "an  army  in  being",  the  Race  has  continued  to  live 
and  proved  the  truth  of  Thierry's  analysis  of  its  wonderful  powers 
of  recuperation.  Its  survival  as  a  separate  entity  proves  its  right 
to  existence  and  insures  it  eventually  a  place  among  the  Nations 
of  the  earth.   As  John  Banim  sang: 

"Thou  art  not  conquered  yet,  dear  land; 
Thou  art  not  conquered  yet." 

On  St.  Patrick's  Day,  1858,  Stephens  blocked  out  the  form 
and  character  of  the  organization  (which  was  called  the  Irish 



Republican  Brotherhood),  wrote  down  the  oath,  which  every 
member  afterwards  took,  and  started  on  a  tour  of  the  country, 
so  far  as  the  limited  resources  at  his  command  would  justify, 
accompanied  by  Denieffe.  He  was  later  joined  by  Thomas  Clarke 
Luby,  who  had  returned  from  Australia.  Before  long  they  found 
a  little  organization  called  the  Phoenix  Society  in  Skibbereen, 
County  Cork,  which  had  among  its  members  O'Donovan  Rossa, 
Mortimer  Moynahan,  Dan  McCartie,  the  Downing  brothers,  and 
others  who  later  figured  in  the  first  attempt  by  the  British  Gov- 
ernment to  crush  the  Movement.  It  was  very  much  of  a  de- 
bating and  social  society,  and  had  done  nothing  in  the  way  of 
procuring  arms.  The  prosecutions  were  started  owing  to  infor- 
mation sent  to  Dublin  Castle  by  Father  O'Sullivan  of  Kenmare, 
County  Kerry.  One  of  the  newly  sworn-in  members  of  the  new 
Organization,  O'Sullivan  (Agreem) ,  had  at  confession  told  about 
his  membership,  and  Father  O'Sullivan  asked  him  to  meet  him  in 
his  parlor  and  repeat  to  him  the  information  he  had  given  him 
in  the  confessional.  O'Sullivan  did  so,  and  Father  O'Sullivan  im- 
mediately sent  it  to  the  Castle.  Then  another  Sullivan,  known 
ever  since  by  the  nickname  of  "Sullivan  Goulah",  turned  in- 
former. A  number  of  arrests  were  made  in  Skibbereen.  Some  of 
the  men  were  allowed  out  on  bail;  Rossa  and  others  were  de- 
tained in  jail  awaiting  trial.  They  were  tried  before  a  packed 
jury,  but  the  case  against  them  was  weak,  and,  the  Government 
of  the  day  not  believing  that  the  Movement  was  likely  to  become 
formidable,  agreed  to  release  the  prisoners  on  condition  that  they 
would  plead  guilty.  This  course  was  finally  adopted  by  the  men, 
and  they  were  set  free  after  spending  eight  months  in  jail. 

This  trial,  instead  of  frightening  the  young  men  of  Ireland, 
really  advertised  the  Movement,  and  helped  in  its  recruiting 
later  on.  Especially  in  Munster  and  Leinster,  they  had  been 
reading  the  literature  of  the  Young  Irelanders,  and  were  fast  be- 
coming ripe  for  the  Fenian  recruiting  agent. 

The  first  impetus  given  to  Fenianism  was  by  the  National 
Petition  Movement,  started  in  the  Nation  office  about  1859.  Lord 
Palmerston,  Lord  John  Russell  and  the  London  Times,  intend- 
ing their  utterances  only  to  apply  to  the  Pope  and  the  King  of 
Naples,  had  been  advocating  the  right  of  every  people  to  choose 
their  own  rulers,  and  to  change  them  when  they  thought  proper. 
They  never  dreamed  of  applying  this  theory  to  Ireland;  but  J.  P. 
Leonard,  a  Professor  of  English  at  the  Sorbonne  in  Paris,  who 
was  the  correspondent  of  the  Nation,  in  one  of  his  letters  sug- 
gested that  Ireland  "take  England  at  her  word",  and  start  a 
movement  to  demand  a  plebiscite  in  Ireland.  T.  D.  Sullivan,  of 
the  Nation,  walked  into  an  Irish  class  (at  which  I  was  present) 




and  to  which  his  brother,  A.  M.  Sullivan,  had  given  the  use  of 
his  editorial  room,  with  two  or  three  friends,  with  a  set  of  reso- 
lutions already  written.  The  class  was  composed  mainly  of 
youths  from  seventeen  up,  and  Mr.  Sullivan  asked  each  of  the 
boys  to  father  one  of  the  resolutions,  which  they  did.  One  of 
these  resolutions  called  for  a  public  meeting  at  the  European 
Hotel  in  Bolton  Street,  which  was  attended  by  an  unexpectedly 
large  number  of  veterans  of  1848,  and  young  men  who  had  grown 
up  in  the  meantime.  The  National  Petition  Movement  was 
started  there,  and  the  Committee  met  in  a  little  room  in  Jervis 
Street.  It  elected  a  Chairman  for  every  meeting,  but  T.  D.  Sul- 
livan was  made  Permanent  Secretary. 

This  organization  became  the  real  foundation  of  Fenianism  in 
Dublin.  Parish  branches  were  formed  to  procure  signatures  to 
a  petition  to  Parliament  at  the  church  doors  on  Sundays,  and 
they  achieved  a  remarkable  degree  of  success.  The  only  real  op- 
position at  any  church  came  from  Father  Spratt  of  the  Car- 
melites in  Clarendon  Street,  who  forbade  the  men  to  stand  at  the 
church  doors  or  in  the  chapel  yard  seeking  signatures.  But  the 
young  men  were  not  daunted;  they  procured  loans  of  tables  from 
citizens,  planted  them  outside  the  doors  of  houses  in  the  neigh- 
borhood of  the  church,  and  secured  as  many  signatures  as  if  they 
had  been  allowed  to  take  them  at  the  church  doors. 

Several  of  these  parish  committees  became  permanent  organi- 
zations, some  of  them  taking  the  form  of  athletic  clubs,  and 
nearly  all  the  members  were  later  sworn  into  the  Fenian  Move- 

Over  five  hundred  thousand  signatures  were  procured  to  the 
Petition  throughout  the  country.  The  O'Donoghue  presented  it 
in  Parliament,  in  a  rather  good  speech.  He  was  a  grand-nephew 
of  Daniel  O'Connell  and  was  at  that  time  looked  up  to  as  a 
future  leader.  He  had  presided  at  the  first  public  dinner  held  in 
Dublin  since  1848,  in  the  Rotunda,  on  St.  Patrick's  Day,  1861, 
and  made  a  speech  in  which  he  said  that  "the  English  Parlia- 
ment was  no  place  for  an  Irish  gentleman." 

I  attended  that  dinner  on  the  eve  of  my  departure  to  get  a 
training  in  the  French  Army,  and  I  remember  the  great  ovation 
which  greeted  "The  Chieftain  of  the  Glens"  when  he  made  that 



Funeral  in  1861  of  Escaped  Veteran  of  1848  Gave  a  Strong 
Impetus  to  Fenianism — The  Demonstration  a  Significant 
Popular  Outpouring. 

The  organization  was  well  on  its  way  to  success  in  the  Sum- 
mer of  1861  when  Terence  Bellew  McManus  died  in  California, 
and  the  Nationalists  there  decided  to  send  his  body  to  Ireland  for 
burial  in  Dublin. 

He  was  a  Monaghan  man,  and  was  in  business  in  Liverpool 
when  the  Young  Irelanders  seceded  from  the  Repeal  Association 
and  started  on  their  propaganda.  The  Clubs  of  the  Irish  Con- 
federation (which  was  the  name  of  their  organization)  held 
meetings  in  Dublin,  at  which  insurrection  was  openly  advocated 
and  many  of  the  members  bought  rifles  and  practised  target 
shooting,  but  the  leaders  did  nothing  but  make  speeches.  Wil- 
liam Smith  O'Brien  (a  descendant  of  Brian  Boru)  was  the  leader, 
but,  though  a  fairly  good  Parliamentary  speaker,  he  was  not  a 
popular  orator.  Charles  Gavan  Duffy  was  a  pretty  good  speaker, 
but  wrote  better.  John  Mitchel  spoke  well,  and  his  articles  in 
the  United  Irishman  were  revolutionary  propaganda  of  the  high- 
est order.  Thomas  Francis  Meagher  was  the  star  orator  of  the 
Young  Irelanders;  he  prepared  his  speeches  carefully,  com- 
mitted them  to  memory  and  delivered  them  with  fine  elocution- 
ary effect.  Thousands  thronged  to  the  Music  Hall  in  Lower 
Abbey  Street  when  the  meetings  were  held,  to  hear  him,  and  he 
made  many  converts  among  the  younger  members  of  the  Repeal 
Association,  which  had  no  good  speaker  in  Conciliation  Hall  after 
Daniel  O'Connell  had  left  for  Italy,  broken  in  health. 

McManus  was  not  an  orator,  but  he  was  a  clear-headed,  prac- 
tical man.  He  came  over  from  Liverpool  to  take  part  in  Smith 
O'Brien's  projected  insurrection  in  Tipperary  and  after  its  failure 
was  convicted  and  transported  to  Van  Dieman's  Land,  where  all 
the  Young  Ireland  leaders  were  confined.  He  was  the  first  of 
them  to  escape,  in  1853,  and  got  to  California,  where  he  settled 
down  and  subsequently  died.  There  was  not  much  of  an  organi- 
zation in  San  Francisco  at  the  time,  but  a  meeting  of  Irish  citi- 
zens appointed  a  committee  to  escort  his  remains  to  Ireland  and 
secure  burial  in  Glasnevin.  There  were  demonstrations  in  every 
city  along  the  route  to  New  York.  The  body  was  held  in  New 
York  for  a  few  days  before  shipment  to  Ireland  and  honored  by 
the  Irish  people  here,  the  Fenian  Brotherhood  taking  charge. 




There  was  no  Atlantic  cable  in  those  days  and  the  news  of  the 
death  of  McManus  only  reached  Ireland  a  few  days  before  the 
arrival  of  the  body,  so  there  was  little  time  for  preparation.  But 
the  time  was  well  utilized.  Stephens  and  Denieffe  were  the  only 
Fenian  leaders  then  in  Dublin,  and  the  general  Irish  public  knew 
little  or  nothing  about  them.  There  were  a  few  veterans  of 
1848,  and  some  new  men  like  the  Sullivans  of  the  Nation  who 
thought  it  was  their  prerogative  to  take  charge  of  all  Nationalist 
demonstrations,  so  when  a  committee  was  formed,  there  was  a 
contest  for  control  of  it. 

The  body  of  McManus  was  received  in  Cork  by  a  hastily  organ- 
ized committee  and  large  crowds  attended  the  funeral  proces- 
sion there.  At  every  station  where  the  train  bearing  the  remains 
stopped,  there  were  great  crowds  which  stood  silently  with  bared 
heads  until  the  train  left,  but  there  was  no  organization.  The 
word  had  reached  the  people  that  the  body  of  the  Rebel  of  1848 
was  on  the  train  and  they  turned  out  spontaneously  to  honor  it. 

In  Dublin,  the  two  elements  on  the  committee  were  unanimous 
in  seeking  to  have  a  mass  said  at  the  Cathedral  in  Marlborough 
Street  and  to  have  the  body  lie  in  state  in  it,  but  Archbishop 
Cullen  positively  refused.  The  committee  then  decided  to  hold 
the  wake  in  the  Mechanics'  Institute  on  Lower  Abbey  Street,  a 
few  blocks  away  from  the  Cathedral.  Instead  of  throwing  a 
damper  on  the  demonstration  of  respect  for  the  dead,  the  Arch- 
bishop's action  only  intensified  popular  feeling  and  vast  crowds 
stood  for  many  blocks  in  the  contiguous  streets  waiting  for  their 
turn  to  view  the  remains.  Among  them  were  many  priests,  in- 
cluding the  famous  Father  Kenyon  of  Templederry,  County  Tip- 
perary,  and  Father  Meehan  of  Dublin,  both  friends  of  John 

There  were  rather  warm  debates  at  the  committee  meetings 
over  the  arrangements  for  the  funeral,  and  the  selection  of  the 
speakers,  but  the  Fenians  won  complete  control.  Father  Kenyon, 
who  was  a  fine  speaker,  but  spoke  with  a  strong  brogue,  knew 
nothing  of  the  Fenians,  but  he  was  as  strong  a  Nationalist  as 
any  of  them.  The  sister  of  McManus  had  written  to  him,  asking 
him  to  take  charge  of  the  funeral,  as  she  knew  no  more  of  the 
new  movement  than  he. 

He  was  satisfied  with  the  explanations  given  and  the  funeral 
went  off  according  to  program.  John  O'Clohessy,  who  had  re- 
cently returned  from  India,  where  he  served  in  the  Bombay  Horse 
Artillery,  was  selected  as  Marshal  of  the  procession.  He  was  a 
handsome  man  with  a  fine  figure,  and  he  had  a  talent  for  man- 
aging processions.  He  had  handled  the  crowds  which  greeted 
the  Irish  Papal  Brigade  at  the  Kingsbridge  station  on  their  re- 



turn  from  Italy  a  few  months  previously,  and  speedily  brought 
order  out  of  chaos,  so  the  men  of  Dublin  knew  his  capacity  for 
such  things.  He  had  joined  the  organization  very  early,  was 
one  of  the  Dublin  "Centres",  and  was  later  sentenced  to  a  term 
of  imprisonment.  His  brother  Michael  (later  well  known  in  New 
York)  was  also  an  active  member  and  had  a  hand  in  the  arrange- 
ments for  the  funeral.  They  were  sons  of  a  Dublin  policeman 
from  Clare. 

The  arrangements  for  the  funeral  were  perfect  and  were  car- 
ried out  with  precision.  It  was  much  bigger  than  the  funeral 
of  O'Connell.  Dublin  had  never  seen  anything  like  it  before. 
All  the  trade  societies  took  part  in  it  and  it  seemed  as  if  every 
man  in  Dublin  was  in  line,  or  on  the  streets  as  an  onlooker.  The 
trains  that  morning  brought  great  crowds  from  all  parts  of  the 
country,  practically  all  of  whom  fell  into  line.  O'Clohessy  selected 
a  number  of  ex-British  soldiers  and  Papal  Brigade  men  as  his 
assistants  and  gave  them  instructions  the  night  before.  The 
handling  of  the  procession,  which  was  several  miles  long,  was 
faultless,  and  the  demeanor  of  the  vast  crowd  which  lined  the 
sidewalks  along  the  route  was  most  respectful.  All  heads  were 
bared  as  the  cortege  passed,  and  women  prayed  aloud. 

As  the  procession  passed  the  spot  in  Thomas  Street  where 
Robert  Emmet  was  hanged  in  1803,  and  the  house  on  the  same 
street  where  Lord  Edward  Fitzgerald  was  stabbed  to  death  with 
a  cane  sword  by  Capt.  Ryan  in  1798,  each  contingent  stood  for 
a  moment  and  the  men  took  off  their  hats.  At  every  historic 
spot  on  the  way  to  Glasnevin,  there  were  appropriate  demonstra- 
tions. The  men  in  line  were  of  fine  physique  and  their  splendid 
bearing  greatly  impressed  the  English  newspapermen.  The  lat- 
ter thought  they  had  all  been  drilled,  but  Irishmen  are  born 
soldiers  and  fall  into  military  step  naturally. 

In  the  cemetery  a  dense  mass  of  people  stood  near  the  grave 
and  speeches  were  made  by  Jeremiah  Cavanagh  and  Captain 
Smith  of  San  Francisco,  which  were  heartily  cheered.  After  the 
funeral  services  the  immense  crowd  disbanded  in  an  orderly 

Several  thousand  country  people  remained  for  a  few  days 
after  the  funeral  to  see  the  city  and  hundreds  of  them  were 
sworn  into  the  organization  by  friends  and  relatives  resident  in 
the  Capital,  and  they  started  it  going  in  their  home  districts 
after  their  return. 

The  funeral  was  a  test,  not  of  the  strength  of  Fenianism, 
but  of  the  revival  of  the  fighting  National  spirit,  which  had  been 
thought  dead  after  the  great  Famine  of  1847  and  the  failure  of 



the  Young  Ireland  Movement  in  1848.  Dublin  itself  was  sur- 
prised at  the  magnificent  demonstration,  and  the  countrymen 
returned  to  their  homes  inspired  with  new  hope. 

The  English  Government  was  also  surprised  and  greatly  dis- 
appointed and  the  London  press  voiced  its  feelings.  The  Ireland 
they  thought  incapable  of  giving  them  further  trouble  of  a 
serious  nature,  they  now  realized  was  filled  with  the  old  militant 
National  Spirit.  The  population  was  still  over  6,000,000,  which 
was  2,000,000  less  than  in  1847  when  emigration  began  on  a  large 
scale  after  havoc  had  been  wrought  by  hunger  and  typhus,  but 
the  people  were  still  numerous  enough  to  give  the  Alien  Govern- 
ment food  for  thought.  But  that  only  awakened  their  fears.  It 
did  not  make  them  dream  of  conciliation,  and  their  minds  were 
occupied  only  with  plans  for  further  repression.  A  habit  that 
had  lasted  for  nearly  seven  centuries  was  hard  to  change,  and 
it  required  much  more  than  processions  marching  through  the 
streets  of  Dublin  to  bring  about  the  alteration.  The  determina- 
tion to  keep  Ireland  suppressed,  in  population  and  in  industry, 
remained  as  strong  as  ever.  Every  concession  had  to  be  wrung 
from  England  and  all  of  them  were  halting,  incomplete  and  eva- 
sive, including  the  last  one  in  1921. 

The  significance  of  the  popular  outpouring  in  Dublin  on 
November  10,  1861,  lay  in  the  fact  that  McManus  was  wholly 
unkown  in  Ireland  before  his  conviction  in  1848.  All  the  great 
body  of  the  people  knew  was  that  he  had  suffered  imprisonment 
for  Ireland  and  had  escaped  from  prison  in  Tasmania. 

The  effect  of  the  McManus  funeral  demonstration  in  the 
country  was  very  marked.  It  gave  a  strong  impetus  to  the  Fenian 
Movement  and  made  recruiting  easy.  The  contest  with  the 
"Moderates"  for  control  of  the  demonstration,  resulting,  as  it 
did,  in  complete  success,  inspired  the  young  men  with  great  con- 
fidence, but  it  also  had  some  bad  effect.  It  developed  a  spirit 
of  intolerance  which  prevented  union  with  the  "Moderates"  on 
reasonable  terms  and  turned  their  sympathy  away.  This  pro- 
duced evil  results  in  later  years,  but  for  the  moment  it  made 
Fenianism  strong  and  aggressive. 

I  missed  the  McManus  funeral,  much  to  my  regret  (as  I  was 
then  serving  in  the  French  Foreign  Legion) ,  and  could  only  read 
the  reports  of  it  in  a  tent  in  Algeria.  But  when  I  returned  to 
Dublin  in  1862  and  heard  the  inside  story  from  the  men  who  had 
taken  part  in  it,  I  was  amazed  at  the  extraordinary  change  which 
had  taken  place  in  the  spirit  of  the  country.  It  marked  a  turning 
point  in  the  history  of  the  movement,  and  Fenianism  made  rapid 
progress  thereafter. 



Steady  Progress  in  the  Early  'Sixties — How  the  Organization 
Permeated  the  Provinces — Total  Membership  80,000. 

After  the  National  Petition  had  been  dumped  on  the  floor 
of  the  English  House  of  Commons,  the  Fenian  Movement  made 
rapid  progress  in  Dublin,  and  from  Dublin  spread  steadily  to 
the  provincial  towns  in  Leinster.  The  chief  recruiting  grounds 
in  the  Capital  were  the  trade  unions  and  the  three  big  drapery 
establishments,  Cannock,  White  &  Co.;  Todd,  Burns  &  Co.,  and 
McSwiney,  Delany  &  Co.  In  these  establishments  the  Drapers' 
Assistants  were  all  country  boys  and  were  a  fine  set  of  fellows. 
They  were  boarded  and  lodged  in  the  houses  where  they  worked 
and  were  obliged  to  dress  well  in  order  to  keep  their  jobs.  They 
were  also  well-mannered  and  very  intelligent.  Several  of  them, 
chiefly  from  Cork,  were  already  members  before  they  left  home 
and  were  great  recruiters. 

The  man  who  swore  me  in,  James  Joseph  O'Connell  O'Cal- 
laghan,  of  Kanturk,  was,  next  to  O'Donovan  Rossa  and  Edward 
Duffy,  the  best  recruiter  in  Ireland,  but  he  had  a  great  talent  for 
exaggeration.  At  the  National  Petition  meetings,  while  he  was 
feeling  me  out  (a  wholly  unnecessary  proceeding,  for  I  already 
belonged  to  a  gun  club)  he  told  me  there  were  already  20,000 
members  in  Cork  and  15,000  in  Tipperary,  evidently  multiplying 
the  actual  number  by  5.  The  swearing  in  was  done  in  Alexan- 
der M.  Sullivan's  editorial  room  in  the  Nation  office,  where  a 
Gaelic  class  met.  O'Callaghan  did  not  learn  any  Irish  and  only 
joined  the  class  to  pick  out  recruits.  I  introduced  him  to  many 
others  and  he  swore  in  most  of  the  men  who  later  became  Cen- 
tres in  Dublin.  His  own  Circle,  after  many  had  been  promoted 
and  had  started  Circles  of  their  own,  numbered  1,100  men. 

O'Callaghan  also  swore  in  James  J.  O'Kelly,  who  later  organ- 
ized London,  and  Matthew  O'Neill,  whose  Circle,  mostly  men  of 
the  building  trades  and  of  fine  physique,  was  1,200  strong.  The 
biggest  Circle  in  Dublin  was  that  of  Hugh  Brophy,  a  builder, 
who  was  arrested  with  Stephens  and  lived  for  many  years  in 
Sydney,  Australia,  after  his  release  from  prison  in  1869  and  died 
there.  His  men  were  also  mainly  from  the  building  trades.  Next 
to  the  building  trades,  shoemakers  and  tailors  were  the  most 
numerous  artisans  in  the  organization. 




From  Dublin,  chiefly  through  the  Drapers'  Assistants,  the  or- 
ganization spread  to  the  Leinster  and  Connacht  towns.  The 
organization  was  always  begun  at  the  top.  One  man  was  sworn 
in  and  empowered  to  obligate  others,  and  if  he  was  successful 
in  recruiting,  was  in  time  made  a  Centre  by  Stephens.  No  wit- 
ness of  the  taking  of  the  oath  was  ever  present.  Only  the  man 
who  administered  the  oath  and  the  man  who  took  it  could  give 
definite  information  of  the  act,  and  no  member  was  supposed 
to  know  any  other  man  in  the  Circle  outside  his  own  seclon, 
numbering  not  more  than  ten.  The  first  rule,  as  to  swearing  in, 
was  always  strictly  adhered  to,  but  the  other  was  utterly  dis- 
regarded. Every  man  knew  all  the  members  of  his  own  Circle 
and  practically  those  of  every  other  Circle  in  the  town.  And 
the  organization  would  not  have  grown  so  rapidly  were  it  not  for 
that  fact.  Touching  elbows  with  fellow-members  at  public  dem- 
onstrations and  having  "a  pint"  with  others  was  a  great  factor. 

The  Centre,  or  head  of  the  Circle  (who  was  supposed  to  have 
the  rank  of  Colonel)  was  known  as  "A",  and  he  was  allowed 
to  have  nine  "Bs",  or  sub-Centres  (Captains) ;  each  "B"  had 
nine  "Cs"  (Sergeants)  if  his  quota  was  full,  and  every  "C"  had 
nine  "Ds",  who  were  privates.  This  regulation  was  never  strictly 
adhered  to  and  some  Circles,  like  that  of  John  Hickey  of  "Kings- 
town", and  William  F.  Roantree's  in  the  Leixlip  District  of  Kil- 
dare,  had  fully  2,000  members.  A  little  Tipperary  hunchback 
shoemaker  named  Stephen  Tracy,  who  was  one  of  O'Callaghan's 
"Bs"  in  Dublin,  had  the  ambition  to  become  a  Centre,  recruited 
his  section  up  to  150  men  and  appointed  three  or  four  "Nomee- 
nial  'Bs' ",  saying  he  "didn't  want  to  play  second  fiddle  to  no 
man",  and  there  were  other  instances  of  the  kind. 

The  Highland  Scotch  bookkeeper  in  the  old  New  York  Herald 
office  (a  Catholic  MacDonald) ,  found  the  oath  in  the  same  way 
in  an  Aberdeen  paper  and  swore  in  thirty  other  Catholic  High- 
land Gaels,  who  were  all  ready  to  go  to  Ireland  to  fight,  but  the 
first  news  they  got  of  the  Rising  was  the  report  of  the  failure 
of  March  5,  1867.  MacDonald's  brother,  a  priest,  was  president 
of  the  College  of  Valladolid  in  Spain.  But  these  were  only  ex- 
ceptions: in  all  cases  the  starting  of  the  organization  was  done 
by  duly  authorized  men. 

There  were  in  all  fifteen  Circles  in  Dublin — Hugh  Brophy's, 
Matthew  O'Neill's,  James  O'Callaghan's,  James  Cook's,  Garrett 
O'Shaughnessy's,  Denis  Cromien's,  Michael  Moore's,  Patrick 
Kearney's,  John  Kirwan's,  John  O'Clohessy's,  Niall  Breslin's, 
James  O'Connor's,  Nicholas  Walsh's  and  Edmund  O'Donovan's, 
and  John  Hickey's  in  Dunleary  (Kingstown) . 



O'Donovan's  was  composed  almost  entirely  of  Protestants. 
O'Donovan  Rossa,  in  his  frequent  visits  to  the  home  of  John 
O'Donovan,  the  great  scholar,  in  Buckingham  Street,  swore  in 
three  sons  of  the  latter,  including  Edmund,  who  was  the  eldest. 

The  number  of  members  in  Dublin  was  reported  as  over 
10,000,  and  it  was  certainly  above  8,000.  There  were,  besides, 
small  Circles  in  North  and  South  Dublin  County.  In  the  Glen- 
cullen  district,  I  found  there  were  several  hundred  unreported 
men;  their  leaders  being  Larry  Caulin  and  Larry  Ellis. 

Carlow  came  in  very  early.  The  Centre  there  was  a  man 
named  Londrigan,  who  was  brought  in  by  Andrew  Nolan,  a  Car- 
low  man  who  was  a  clerk  in  a  hardware  shop  in  Thomas  Street, 
Dublin.  John  Nolan,  a  brother  of  Andy,  brought  the  organiza- 
tion to  Belfast,  where  he  had  a  good  position  in  a  drapery  estab- 
lishment.  From  Belfast  he  spread  it  through  Ulster. 

But  though  Londrigan  was  the  most  prominent  man  in  the 
organization  in  Carlow,  the  best  known  and  most  popular  was  a 
farmer  named  John  Morris.  He  was  an  eccentric  man,  but  in 
his  way  very  clever  and  resourceful.  After  the  Irish  People  was 
seized  he  was  "wanted"  by  the  police,  but  managed  to  evade  ar- 
rest without  going  more  than  four  or  five  miles  away  from  his 
home  by  training  the  boys  of  the  neighborhood  to  signal  him 
by  blowing  horns  to  warn  him  of  the  approach  of  the  Peelers. 
Often  they  put  a  cordon  around  the  district,  but  he  always  man- 
aged to  slip  through.  At  the  meeting  of  Centres  that  decided 
on  the  Rising  of  March  5,  1867,  he  thought  the  American  offi- 
cers were  interfering  too  much — though  it  was  the  one  occasion 
when  their  counsel  was  most  needed — and  he  said,  as  Niall  Breslin 
later  told  me:  "I'd  have  ye  gintlemin  from  America  understand 
that  ye're  only  ogzeeliaries  here."  After  the  Rising  he  escaped 
to  America  and  settled  in  Chicago.  Although  he  took  sides  against 
the  "Triangle",  he  liked  "sthrong  talkers"  and  went  to  all  public 
meetings  where  John  F.  Finerty  was  a  speaker.  He  would  ap- 
plaud him  vigorously  and  shout:  "Good  boy,  John;  give  it  to 
them"  when  the  orator  was  "twisting  the  lion's  tail"  most  vigor- 
ously. He  gave  his  children  a  good  education  and  one  of  his 
sons  became  a  priest.  (The  term  "Triangle"  was  applied  to  that 
section  of  the  Clan-na-Gael  of  which  Sullivan,  Boland  and  Feely 
were  the  leaders.) 

Hugh  Byrne  of  Tinahely,  a  school  teacher  and  a  highly  gifted 
man,  started  the  movement  in  Wicklow,  in  which  it  became  very 
strong.  He  wrote  a  book  on  arithmetic  in  Mount  joy  Prison.  He 
died  in  San  Francisco  in  the  early  'eighties. 



The  organization  was  begun  in  Louth  by  a  Drogheda  man 
named  McCabe,  and  one  of  his  first  coadjutors  was  Harry  Byrne 
who  later  introduced  me  to  John  Boyle  O'Reilly. 

William  Francis  Roantree  of  Leixlip  brought  it  into  North 
Kildare,  and  a  tailor  named  Byrne,  then  working  in  Dublin, 
to  Athy.  A  Dublin  "chimney  sweep"  named  Sullivan,  who  had 
settled  in  Newbridge,  started  it  there,  and  when  I  met  him  after 
moving  to  Naas  in  1862,  he  had  over  two  hundred  men.  He  had 
a  fine  voice  and  knew  how  to  use  it.  He  was  strong  on  "Corae- 
all-ye's"  and  his  favorite  was: 

"My  love  Nell 

Was  an  Irish  girl 
From  the  Cove  of  Cork  came  she: 

I'm  a-weeping  and  a-wailing 
And  the  big  ship  sailing 

For  the  shores  of  Americay." 

After  a  lapse  of  over  sixty  years  his  splendid  voice  is  still 
ringing  in  my  ears.  Sweeping  chimneys  was  looked  upon  as  a 
low  occupation,  but  Sullivan  made  a  good  living  and  was  a  very 
intelligent  man.  His  work  was  done  chiefly  by  boys.  He  was  too 
big  to  go  up  a  chimney  himself. 

I  brought  the  organization  to  Naas,  and  my  district  included 
Ballymore  Eustace,  Kilcullen,  Athgarvan,  Kill  (my  native  par- 
ish) ,  Straffan  and  the  Bog  of  Allen. 

In  Queens  County  the  organization  was  started  by  Matthew 
Carroll  of  Maryborough,  then  a  shoemaker,  who  was  sworn  in 
while  working  in  Dublin.  He  brought  in  a  well-to-do  shopkeeper 
named  McCabe  in  Portarlington,  and  Bill  Dunphy,  Matt  Fleming 
and  his  younger  brother,  George  (both  well  known  later  in 
Chicago),  and  Edward  Murphy,  son  of  a  wealthy  mill-owner,  in 

Carroll  had  a  brother  a  minister,  but  I  knew  Matt  more  than 
twenty-five  years  before  I  learned  he  was  a  Protestant.  His  men 
and  mine  used  to  meet  in  Monasterevan  on  occasional  Sundays, 
walking  all  the  way  and  lunching  on  bread  and  butter,  washed 
down  with  a  pint  of  porter.  On  other  Sundays  we  walked  from 
Naas  to  Dublin,  Carroll  walking  the  whole  twenty-five  miles 
from  Maryborough  on  Saturday.  As  we  passed  the  church  in  Kill, 
I  used  to  say  to  him:  "Well,  as  we're  passing  the  chapel  we 
might  as  well  go  to  Mass."  Carroll  would  answer:  "All  right", 
and  we'd  go  to  a  seat  in  the  gallery  belonging  to  cousins  of  mine, 
where  he  would  take  a  little  Catholic  prayer  book  from  his  vest 
pocket  and  read  the  prayers  for  Mass.  All  Fenians  carried  that 
little  prayer  book  for  swearing-in  purposes,  and  later  when  a 
man  was  arrested  the  papers  would  say:  "Among  the  suspicious 



articles  found  on  the  prisoner  were  *  *  *  and  a  small  prayer 

Matt  Carroll  in  1867  was  one  of  the  founders  of  the  Clan-na- 
Gael  and  became  very  well  known  in  New  York,  where  he  was 
employed  as  a  clothing  cutter,  and  in  Jersey  City,  where  he  died. 

The  organization  was  started  in  Meath  soon  after  Denieffe's 
arrival  by  a  veteran  of  1848  named  Philip  Grey,  whom  Luby, 
O'Leary  and  Denieffe  united  in  describing  as  a  man  of  high  char- 
acter, but  he  died  a  year  or  two  later  and  his  death  retarded  the 

Meath  was  not  strong  in  Fenianism.  Its  chief  men  were  James 
Pallas,  the  school  teacher  in  Athboy,  and  Tom  Masterson  of 
Navan,  a  shoemaker,  who  moved  into  Dublin.  Billy  McLaughlin, 
still  alive  at  this  writing  (August,  1927)  in  New  York,  was  then 
a  mere  boy,  but  was  a  member. 

Tom  Williams  (Secretary  to  Charles  A.  Dana  of  the  New  York 
Sun)  started  the  organization  in  Longford.  He  was  a  Dublin  man 
whose  father  owned  the  old  Evening  Post,  and  he  became  Editor 
of  the  Longford  Register,  which  enabled  him  to  introduce  the 
organization  into  that  County.  When  he  died,  in  New  York,  he 
was  an  editorial  contributor  to  the  Gaelic  American. 

Tom  Owens,  a  quiet,  unassuming  little  Dublin  waiter,  got  a 
job  in  Jude's  restaurant  at  the  Mullingar  railway  station  and 
started  the  work  in  Westmeath.  He  did  not  make  much  progress 
until  Captain  Joe  Carroll  was  assigned  to  the  command  of  that 

I  go  into  all  these  details  because  they  were  typical  of  the 
Fenian  Movement,  and  of  the  men  who  composed  it  all  over  Ire- 
land, so  that  the  new  generation  may  have  a  clearer  view  of  the 
Ireland  of  that  day.  I  knew  nothing  of  the  organization  in  the 
Kings  County  and  little  of  Wexford. 

Kilkenny  was  one  of  our  strongholds,  but  Callan  had  a  much 
larger  number  of  men  than  the  city.  John  Haltigan,  foreman 
printer  of  the  Kilkenny  Journal  (father  of  Patrick  Haltigan,  the 
Reading  Clerk  of  the  House  of  Representatives,  and  of  the  late 
James  Haltigan,  editor  of  the  Celtic  Monthly  and  later  chair- 
man of  the  chapel  in  the  composing  room  of  the  New  York 
World) ,  was  head  of  the  movement  in  the  City  of  Kilkenny,  but 
Stephens  brought  him  to  Dublin  and  made  him  foreman  of  the 
Irish  People  office.  In  Callan  the  chief  man  was  Edward  Coyne, 
whose  brother,  Philip,  was  an  active  worker  in  New  York. 

In  Cork  City  the  chief  whom  all  looked  up  to  was  John 
Kenealy,  who  was  convicted  and  sentenced  to  ten  years'  penal 



servitude  in  January,  1866.  He  was  released  from  Western  Aus- 
tralia in  1869,  went  to  San  Francisco,  where  he  lived  for  many 
years,  moved  to  Los  Angeles  before  it  became  famous,  except  as 
a  health  resort,  and  died  there  many  years  ago.  Although  the 
system  of  County  Centres  did  not  exist  in  the  old  organization, 
John  Kenealy  practically  exercised  all  the  functions  of  that 
office  for  Cork  County.  He  was  an  even  tempered  man  with  a 
judicial  mind  and  fine  judgment,  and  was  highly  respected  by 

Skibbereen  was  a  hotbed  of  Fenianism  and  gave  us  not  only 
O'Donovan  Rossa  (whom  Padraic  Pearse  justly  described  as  the 
most  typical  Fenian)  but  Mortimer  Moynahan  and  his  brother, 
Michael,  who  later  on  was  Secretary  to  General  Canby  during 
the  Modoc  War  in  the  Lava  Beds,  the  three  Downing  brothers, 
P.  J.,  Denis  and  Daniel.  P.  J.,  after  serving  with  distinction  in 
Meagher's  Brigade,  became  Lieutenant-Colonel  of  the  Ninety- 
ninth  New  York  National  Guard  (of  which  John  O'Mahony  was 
Colonel) ,  later  settled  in  Washington,  and  died  there.  He  was 
the  father  of  Rossa  Downing,  well  known  in  the  early  days  of 
the  Friends  of  Irish  Freedom. 

There  were  more  prisoners  from  Skibbereen  in  Mount  joy 
Prison  in  1866  than  from  any  other  town  in  Ireland.  They  were 
mostly  Gaelic  speakers  and  spoke  English  with  a  very  strong 
brogue.  "Have  oo  any  noos  from  Shkib?"  one  asked  another 
in  my  hearing  one  day  as  we  walked  round  the  exercise  ring, 
and  the  other  replied:  "No;  but  I  do  be  dhraming — wisha,  quare 
dhrames."  Owing  to  the  close  confinement,  prisoners  often  had 
distorted  dreams. 

Next  to  John  Kenealy  in  Cork  City  was  James  F.  X.  O'Brien, 
a  man  of  considerable  literary  ability.  John  Lynch  was  another 
very  active  member  in  the  early  days.  He  was  convicted  early  in 
1866  and  died  in  Pentonville  Prison.  Another  energetic  worker 
was  John  O'Callaghan,  who  spent  several  months  in  Mount- 
joy  Prison  as  a  suspect  in  1866,  but  was  not  convicted. 

Bantry,  Mallow,  Fermoy,  Midleton  and  Kanturk  were  good 
Fenian  towns,  but  Fermoy  came  next  to  Skibbereen  in  strength. 
East  Cork  was  poorer  in  spirit  than  West  Cork,  and  the  people 
seemed  to  belong  to  a  different  branch  of  the  Race. 

In  Tipperary,  Charles  J.  Kickham  was  not  only  the  leader, 
but  was  one  of  the  chief  men  of  the  whole  movement.  I  deal 
with  him  in  a  separate  chapter. 

Denis  Dowling  Mulcahy,  who  practised  medicine  in  Newark, 
N.  J.,  for  many  years,  was  one  of  the  leaders  in  Tipperary,  but 
Stephens  took  both  Kickham  and  him  to  Dublin  as  members  of 



the  staff  of  the  Irish  People  and  both  were  arrested  and  con- 

Clare  was  one  of  the  best  Fenian  counties  in  Ireland — due  to 
the  initiative  of  Edmund  O'Donovan,  and  John  Clune,  whom  he 
swore  in.  Clune  was  arrested  early  in  1866,  but  was  released  on 
bail  because  he  made  himself  sick  by  eating  soap  in  Mount  joy 
Prison,  so  that  he  might  not  have  to  go  to  America — as  most  of 
the  prisoners  were  then  compelled  to  do,  if  they  were  to  secure 
their  freedom.  It  nearly  killed  him,  as  there  was  arsenic  in  the 

In  Waterford  City  the  chief  man  was  Denis  Cashman  (con- 
victed in  February,  1867  with  me) ,  and  he  was  ably  assisted  by  a 
man  named  Dillon  and  by  a  wealthy  pig  dealer  named  Kenny. 
The  county  was  not  well  organized.  Cashman  was  for  a  time 
Business  Manager  of  the  Boston  Pilot. 

Kerry  was  at  that  time  poor  ground,  and  the  Corkmen  con- 
temptuously called  the  Kerrymen  "Chieftain  Members",  on  ac- 
count of  their  devotion  to  The  O'Donoghue,  even  after  he  took 
an  English  job.  The  chief  man  there  was  William  Moore  Stack 
(father  of  Austin) ,  who  was  also  convicted  with  me.  He  was 
then  an  attorney's  clerk  in  Dublin.  Maurice  Moynahan  became 
County  Centre  after  the  reorganization  in  1867,  and  a  man  named 
Moriarty  was  also  an  active  worker.  When  Colonel  O'Connor 
returned  from  America  after  the  Civil  War  he  became  the 
leader  and  headed  the  premature  insurrection  in  Kerry  in  Feb- 
ruary, 1867. 

In  Limerick,  Jack  Daly  and  his  brother  Ned  were  mere  boys 
in  1867,  but  they  took  part  in  the  Rising.  It  was  in  the  reor- 
ganized movement  that  John  became  prominent.  The  leader  in 
the  city  was  David  Murphy,  who  was  shot  at  later  by  a  deluded 
young  fellow  named  O'Kelly, — at  the  instigation  of  Richard  Pigott, 
whose  thefts  from  the  funds  subscribed  through  the  Irishman 
he  had  threatened  to  expose.  He  was  at  the  time  bookkeeper  in 
the  Irishman  office.  He  was  alive,  though  well  over  ninety,  when 
I  last  heard  from  him.  There  was  also  Edward  Murphy  (not  a 
relative  of  David) ,  a  shoemaker  in  Limerick  and  a  very  active 
worker,  whom  I  only  met  in  New  York.  Except  for  Kilmallock 
the  rest  of  the  County  was  poorly  organized. 

I  knew  little  of  Connacht  except  what  I  heard  from  Ned 
Duffy  and  O'Donovan  Rossa,  who  made  a  tour  of  the  province 
together.  Rossa's  proficiency  in  Irish  helped  him  considerably, 
but  Duffy,  although  born  in  Connacht,  knew  nothing  of  the  lan- 
guage. I  learned  much  about  conditions  in  Mayo  years  later 
from  Martin  Lovern,  a  lame  schoolmaster,  descended  from  one 



of  Humbert's  soldiers  who  did  not  return  to  France.  He  was 
also  a  school  teacher  in  Scranton  and  died  in  Buffalo,  N.  Y.  He 
had  a  fine  copy  of  the  "Annals  of  the  Four  Masters"  and  fre- 
quently sent  me  postal  cards  in  Irish. 

The  organization  was  strongest  in  Mayo  and  Roscommon,  but 
Galway,  Sligo  and  Leitrim  were  poorly  organized.  In  the  reor- 
ganized movement  Mayo  was  the  best  in  Ireland,  but  Cavan  was 
a  strong  rival. 

I  had  little  knowledge  of  Ulster  outside  of  Belfast,  where 
there  was  a  fine  organization,  and  many  groups  of  the  members 
often  visited  Dublin.  The  most  prominent  of  these  was  Frank 
Rooney,  a  splendid  fellow.  Another  frequent  visitor  was  a  man 
named  Loughrey.  There  was  a  good  organization  in  Down.  In 
Newtownards,  when  Rossa  visited  the  town  in  1864  or  1865,  he 
found  the  Centre  to  be  a  Presbyterian  linen  manufacturer,  and 
the  membership  about  evenly  divided  between  Catholics,  Presby- 
terians and  Episcopalians.  The  tradition  of  the  United  Irishmen 
was  still  alive  there.  During  my  time  the  Episcopalians  were 
always  called  "Protestants",  while  each  of  the  other  Protestant 
sects  was  given  its  respective  designation,  and  I  believe  the  cus- 
tom still  prevails. 

The  I.  R.  B.  was  also  strong  in  Monaghan  under  James  Blaney 
Rice  of  Tyholland  with  whom  I  was  not  then  acquainted. 

The  organization  got  into  several  places  without  Stephens 
knowing  anything  about  it,  owing  to  failure  to  report  it.  I  dis- 
covered some  cases  accidentally.  There  was  a  Dunlavin  family 
named  Leonard  in  Naas,  one  of  whose  members,  Patrick,  although 
hardly  twenty,  was  one  of  my  most  active  workers.  He  joined 
the  United  States  Army  later,  became  a  staff  sergeant,  and  died 
at  the  Presidio  Barracks  in  San  Francisco  the  day  before  the 
great  earthquake  and  fire.  I  went  with  him  in  1864  to  the 
funeral  of  a  relative  at  Stratford,  County  Wicklow,  close  to  Dun- 
lavin. There  was  a  mill  there  at  that  time  which  employed  a 
large  number  of  men.  I  was  introduced  to  more  than  a  score  of 
them  who  all  belonged  to  the  organization,  and  was  assured 
there  were  fully  1,500  in  the  district.  When  I  told  this  to 
Stephens  on  my  next  visit  to  Dublin  I  found  he  had  never  heard 
of  it.  I  have  no  doubt  there  were  other  such  cases  which  would 
more  than  make  up  for  possible  exaggerations  elsewhere. 

Stephens  claimed  a  total  membership  in  Ireland,  England, 
Scotland  and  Wales  of  80,000,  exclusive  of  the  15,000  men  in  the 
British  army,  and  he  was  probably  right. 

One  of  the  recruiting  grounds  for  Fenianism  in  its  early  days 
in  Dublin  and  in  the  North  of  England  was  the  Brotherhood  of 



St.  Patrick.  It  was  an  open,  unsworn  organization  which  held 
its  meetings  in  a  hall  over  a  restaurant  in  Marlborough  Street, 
near  the  river,  which  was  run  by  a  white  American  woman  whose 
husband  was  a  mulatto  and  the  only  waiter  was  their  son,  a  very 
meek  boy.  It  was  a  good  restaurant,  though  cheap,  and  was  well 
patronized.  One  could  get  a  good,  plain  dinner  of  meat  and 
vegetables  for  sixpence.  While  the  mulatto,  a  big,  stalwart 
fellow,  stalked  around  the  dining  room,  his  Yankee  wife  stood 
at  the  cash  desk  talking  incessantly. 

The  hall  on  the  second  floor  (it  was  a  three-story  stone  build- 
ing) seated  about  a  hundred  people,  and  it  was  well  filled  at  the 
weekly  meetings.  No  resolutions  were  passed  and  the  proceed- 
ings consisted  entirely  of  speech  making.  The  chief  speakers 
were  Thomas  Neilson  Underwood  (an  Ulster  Presbyterian  who 
was  a  nephew  of  Samuel  Neilson,  the  United  Irishman,  and  a 
cousin  of  Charles  Underwood  O'Connell) ;  Charles  G.  Doran,  the 
architect  who  later  designed  the  Cathedral  at  Cobh  (Queens- 
town),  and  John  C.  Hoey,  author  of  "That  Damned  Green  Flag 
Again".  Both  Underwood  and  Doran  were  good  speakers,  but  did 
not  speak  to  any  particular  text.  Their  topic  was  Irish  Nation- 
ality, but  they  advocated  no  particular  programme  or  policy. 
Hoey,  who  said  "dis"  and  "dat",  was  an  admirer  of  Hofer,  the 
Tyrolese  patriot,  and  referred  to  him  in  every  speech,  in  advocacy 
of  physical  force.  He  constantly  repeated  the  invocation  used  by 
Hofer  when  his  men  were  hurling  rocks  down  from  the  mountains 
on  the  Bavarians.  Not  one  of  the  three  was  a  member  of  the 
I.  R.  B.  at  that  time,  but  after  the  failure  of  1867  Doran  joined 
it  and  some  years  later  became  Secretary  of  the  Supreme  Council. 

Hoey's  poem  referred  to  above  was  based  on  the  story  of  how 
a  Confederate  officer  remarked  on  the  repeated  charges  of 
Meagher's  Irish  Brigade  in  one  of  the  famous  battles  of  the 
American  Civil  War:  "There's  that  damned  green  flag  again". 
It  was  recited  everywhere  by  the  Fenians. 

The  Brotherhood  of  St.  Patrick  got  a  good  deal  of  public 
notice  through  Dean  O'Brien  of  Newcastle  West,  County  Limerick, 
head  of  the  Catholic  Young  Men's  Society,  denouncing  it  bitterly 
in  the  newspapers.  He  made  all  kinds  of  unfounded  accusations 
against  it,  among  which  was  that  the  members  were  being  drilled 
with  wooden  guns  and  that  it  was  a  cloak  for  a  secret  society. 
The  attacks  were  wholly  unprovoked  and  unjustified,  but  they 
were  continued  for  many  months. 

No  man  of  any  consequence  undertook  to  answer  Dean 
O'Brien,  but  "Red  Jim"  McDermott,  who  later  became  notorious 
as  a  British  spy,  wrote  some  flippant  letters  in  the  Irishman 



(then  edited  by  Denis  Holland)  which  were  wholly  ineffective 
and  only  supplied  Father  O'Brien  with  new  texts  for  attack. 

Finally  Stephens  ordered  all  I.  R.  B.  members  to  withdraw 
from  the  St.  Patrick's  Brotherhood,  and  it  dwindled  to  very  small 
proportions,  but  continued  to  hold  meetings  for  several  months. 
It  had  no  central  governing  body.  The  English  branches  pub- 
lished weekly  reports  of  their  meetings  in  the  Irishman.  Later, 
most  of  their  members  were  taken  into  the  I.  R.  B.  and  their 
S.  P.  B.  meetings  ceased. 



A.  M.  Sullivan,  Who  Became  Editor  of  The  "Nation"  After  the 
"Young  Ireland"  Period,  Antagonistic  to  the  I.  R.  B. — His 
Unjustifiable  Attacks  Begot  Retaliation. 

The  feud  with  the  Sullivans  was  very  unfortunate  and  did 
much  harm,  but  the  Fenians  did  not  begin  it.  It  was  started  by 
the  publication  in  the  Nation  of  a  letter  from  Alexander  M. 
Sullivan  to  William  Smith  O'Brien  stating  that  while  on  a  yacht- 
ing tour  around  the  Southern  coast  he  found  in  Bantry  and 
other  towns  that  members  of  a  secret  society  were  using  Mr. 
O'Brien's  name  to  induce  others  to  join,  claiming  that  he  was  a 
member.  While  it  was  probably  true  that  some  were  doing  this, 
the  leaders  knew  nothing  of  it  and  were  not  responsible.  The 
publication  of  the  letter  was  a  wholly  unwarrantable  and  unjus- 
tifiable act,  as  it  warned  the  Government  that  the  organization 
they  thought  they  had  suppressed  by  the  trials  of  the  Skibbereen 
and  Kenmare  men  was  at  work  again  and  put  it  on  the  scent. 
The  men  in  West  Cork  retaliated  by  nicknaming  A.  M.  Sullivan 
"Goulah",  the  opprobrious  epithet  which  they  had  applied  to  the 
fellow  who  betrayed  O'Sullivan  of  Kenmare.  The  nickname 
was  adopted  by  the  members  generally,  and  the  Dublin  men  at- 
tempted to  break  up  all  public  meetings  at  which  the  then  editor 
of  the  Nation  was  announced  to  speak. 

Sullivan  repeated  his  offense  in  his  report  in  the  Nation  of  a 
public  meeting  in  the  Rotunda  for  the  purpose  of  starting  a 
public  National  organization  a  few  days  after  the  McManus 
Funeral  in  1861.  The  control  of  the  meeting  was  captured  by 
the  Fenians  and  they  were  in  a  majority  on  the  committee  ap- 
pointed to  begin  the  work  of  organization.  Mr.  Sullivan  printed 
a  list  of  the  committee  with  a  number  of  names  in  italics  and  a 
note  at  the  foot  of  the  list  saying  that  the  names  in  italics  were 
"friends  of  the  Fenian  delegates".  This  was  another  warning 
to  the  Government  and  was  downright  "felon-setting".  It  made 
the  men  very  bitter  against  Sullivan  and  they  retaliated  very 
vigorously.  The  proposed  organization  was  not  formed. 

At  a  meeting  in  the  Rotunda  on  Feb.  22,  1864,  to  protest 
against  a  Loyalist  project  of  erecting  a  monument  to  Prince 
Albert  in  College  Green  there  was  a  riot  in  which  Mr.  Sullivan 
was  ousted  from  the  platform.   Stephens  sent  a  letter  to  the 




Dublin  Centres  telling  them  to  protest  against  Sullivan  making 
a  speech,  but  he  did  not,  as  Sullivan  claims  in  one  of  his  books, 
order  them  to  use  violence.   I  was  present  on  the  platform. 

The  O'Donoghue  presided  and  in  his  opening  speech  referred 
to  the  editor  of  the  Nation  as  "my  esteemed  friend  Mr.  Sullivan". 
That  started  the  row.  A  number  of  young  men,  led  by  Paddy 
Kearney  and  Jack  Clohessy  (both  ex-British  soldiers)  made  a 
rush  for  the  platform  and  stormed  it.  The  whole  meeting  was 
in  confusion  immediately  and  the  men  on  the  platform,  jammed 
together  as  they  were,  could  do  nothing  but  utter  vain  protests. 
Those  around  me  were  the  class  of  men  who  would  make  good 
members,  but  they  were  indignant  at  the  disturbance  and  prob- 
ably never  joined  afterwards.  They  evidently  did  not  appreciate 
the  reasons  for  the  antipathy  to  Sullivan,  but  were  indignant  at 
the  breaking  up  of  a  meeting  to  protest  against  desecrating 
College  Green  with  a  statue  of  the  Prince  Consort  who  had  writ- 
ten a  letter  to  Humboldt  in  which  he  said  that  "the  Poles  were 
deserving  of  as  little  sympathy  as  the  Irish".  That  letter  had 
been  published  a  short  while  before,  and  everybody  had  read  it. 

Dr.  Waters,  who  edited  a  daily  paper  started  by  A.  M.  Sullivan 
called  the  Morning  News,  and  who  stuttered  badly  when  excited, 
attempted  to  make  a  speech  from  the  gallery  defending  Sullivan 
and  was  jeered  by  the  crowd  as  they  went  out.  A  number  of  the 
I.  R.  B.  men  went  over  to  the  Irish  People  office  in  Parliament 
Street,  where  an  impromptu  meeting,  without  a  Chairman,  was 
held  and  speeches  were  made  by  Stephens  and  Luby.  The  C.  O. 
I.  R.  (Chief  Organizer  of  the  Irish  Republic)  was  not  a  practiced 
speaker  and  only  explained  that  it  was  a  mistake  to  storm  the 
platform  and  break  upon  the  meeting,  but  Luby  was  jubilant 
and  spoke  sarcastically  of  Dr.  Waters  and  his  stammering  at- 
tempt at  a  speech  and  "the  stampede  of  the  respectables".  That 
was  the  way  all  present  felt. 

A  few  days  later,  another,  but  very  small  meeting  was  held  in 
the  Rotunda,  to  which  admission  was  by  ticket  and  a  heavy 
guard  placed  on  the  door.  The  breaking  up  of  the  previous  meet- 
ing was  bitterly  denounced,  and  the  cleavage  started  there  con- 
tinued until  the  trials  in  1865-6. 

I  thought  the  effect  of  the  riotous  proceedings  on  the  country 
would  be  very  bad,  but  it  was  less  so  than  I  anticipated.  Meet- 
ing a  man  on  the  street  in  Naas  on  my  return  he  asked  me  about 
it  and  I  answered  him  apologetically,  but  I  was  surprised  when 
he  said  in  a  tone  of  admiration:  "They  must  be  damn  shtrong." 

The  fight  with  the  Sullivans  went  on  for  many  years  and  pre- 
vented many  good  men  from  joining  the  organization.  It  divided 



Ireland  into  two  rival  camps,  but  the  Fenians  were  organized 
and  the  followers  of  Sullivan  were  not,  and  that  counted  for 
much.  Sullivan  ceased  denouncing  and  making  exposures,  but 
in  reporting  public  events  in  the  Nation  he  and  T.  D.  showed 
their  animosity  unmistakably.  When  George  Clarke  was  killed 
on  the  bank  of  the  Royal  Canal  near  Phibsborough  the  Nation 
put  this  heading  over  the  report:  "Man  Killed  on  False  Sus- 
picion." Nobody  in  the  Nation  or  the  Morning  News  office  knew 
anything  whatever  about  the  case,  but  the  report  undertook  to 
show  that  Clarke  was  innocent.  The  fact  was  that  the  evidence 
against  Clarke  was  conclusive.  Michael  Breslin,  clerk  in  the  Head 
Police  Office,  saw  him  there  talking  to  Superintendent  Hughes; 
a  detachment  of  detectives  was  immediately  sent  out  and  raided 
an  arms  depot  in  which  he  had  applied  for  work  the  day  before, 
and  when  refused,  grumbled  in  a  threatening  way.  Clarke  was  a 
chronic  grumbler.  He  and  about  twenty  others  sent  to  Rome  by 
Father  Fay  of  Meath  Street  Church  to  join  the  Irish  Papal 
Brigade  returned  to  Ireland  without  enlisting  because  they  were 
dissatisfied  about  something. 

The  evidence  was  first  submitted  to  Colonel  Kerwin  as  Judge 
Advocate,  who  passed  upon  it.  Edmund  O'Donovan  presided  at 
the  courtmartial.  At  the  termination  of  the  trial  Clarke  was 
found  guilty  and  duly  sentenced  to  death.  Sam  Cavanagh  and 
Garret  O'Shaughnessy  were  detailed  to  put  the  sentence  into 
effect, — which  they  did.  I  forget  the  name  of  the  one-armed 
Dublin  man,  whom  I  often  met  here  in  later  years,  who  inveigled 
Clarke  to  the  place  of  execution.  Cavanagh  and  O'Shaughnessy 
got  safely  to  America  and  both  died  in  New  York,  the  latter 
within  a  few  years  of  his  arrival  and  Cavanagh  about  1908.  Cava- 
nagh became  a  Lieutenant  in  the  Sixty-Ninth  and  was  Presi- 
dent of  the  Veterans  of  the  I.  R.  B.  for  some  time. 

When  John  O'Leary  was  sentenced  to  twenty  years'  penal 
servitude,  A.  M.  Sullivan  wrote  a  very  mean  article  about  him. 
After  commending  him  for  his  splendid  speech  in  the  dock,  the 
article  said: 

"Grave  things,  terrible  things,  have  been  said  of  John 
O'Leary  and  of  his  brother  Arthur,  now  deceased,  but  we 
refrain,"  etc. 

It  would  have  been  more  manly  if  Sullivan  had  made  definite 
charges,  but  the  insinuation  was  damnable.  John  O'Leary  led  a 
pure  and  strictly  moral  life,  and  the  most  terrible  thing  he  had 
ever  done  was  to  stop  going  to  Mass.  He  was  neither  an  Atheist 
nor  a  Freethinker,  but  used  to  say  that  he  belonged  to  the  Broad 
Church.  Father  Finlay,  the  Jesuit  who  was  prominent  in  the 
Industrial  Movement,  succeeded  in  reconciling  him  with  the 



Church  and  he  died  within  its  fold.  He  had  never  written  a  word 
against  Sullivan  and  disapproved  attacks  on  him. 

It  was  cowardly  to  assail  a  man  who  could  not  defend  him- 
self, for  under  the  English  prison  system  convicted  prisoners  are 
not  allowed  to  see  newspapers,  and  warders  are  always  present 
when  friends  or  relatives  visit  them  and  are  under  orders  to 
prevent  the  conveyance  of  information  regarding  public  events. 
But,  even  if  O'Leary  were  free  to  reply  he  would  treat  the  attack 
with  silent  scorn.  He  never  engaged  in  personal  controversies. 

While  the  Nation  under  control  of  the  Sullivans  was  not  up  to 
the  high  standard  of  the  paper  of  the  days  of  Gavan  Duffy  and 
Thomas  Davis,  it  was  of  high  literary  merit.  No  weekly  paper 
in  Europe  was  equal  to  the  old  Nation,  except  perhaps  the  Lon- 
don Spectator,  and  it  was  of  a  wholly  different  type.  The  Spec- 
tator dealt  only  with  the  events  of  the  day,  while  the  Nation 
was  devoted  to  a  Cause  and  appealed  to  the  intellect  of  a  Race 
in  an  effort  to  lift  the  Race  to  a  higher  level  and  inspire  it  with 
enthusiasm  for  the  Cause. 

But  the  paper  under  the  management  of  the  Sullivans  did 
splendid  work.  It  kept  the  National  Cause  afloat  and  fought 
English  tyranny  and  Anglo-Irish  Landlordism  manfully;  and 
Alexander  Sullivan  rendered  fine  service  in  the  Longford  and 
Tipperary  elections,  in  which  the  majority  of  the  priests,  under 
the  leadership  of  their  Bishops,  took  the  wrong  side.  T.  D.  Sulli- 
van's poetry,  although  some  of  it  was  of  little  merit,  exercised  a 
strong  influence  on  the  people  and  helped  to  keep  the  Nationalist 
Spirit  alive. 

The  Nation  of  the  Sullivans  tried  to  make  good  the  motto  of 
the  old  Nation,  "to  create  and  foster  public  opinion  in  Ireland  and 
make  it  racy  of  the  soil." 

Notwithstanding  the  feud  with  the  I.  R.  B.,  Tim  Sullivan  be- 
came a  sort  of  Poet  Laureate  of  the  Fenians  after  the  Manchester 
Rescue  by  writing  "God  Save  Ireland",  which  became  the  National 
Anthem  until  replaced  by  "The  Soldiers'  Song"  after  Easter 
Week,  1916.  The  art  of  composing  music  seemed  to  have  died 
out  in  Ireland  and  all  new  songs  were  written  to  old,  or  foreign 
airs.  T.  D.  wrote  "God  Save  Ireland"  to  the  air  of  "Tramp, 
Tramp,  Tramp",  written  in  Libby  Prison  by  a  prisoner  of  the 
Civil  War.  It  has  fallen  into  disuse  since  the  reconciliation  with 
the  South,  but  the  American  officers  carried  it  to  Ireland  and  the 
Dublin  men  picked  it  up.  It  was  a  fine  marching  song: 

"Tramp,  tramp,  tramp!  the  boys  are  marching, 

Cheer  up,  comrades,  they  will  come, 

And  beneath  the  starry  flag 

We  shall  breathe  the  air  again 

Of  the  free  land  in  our  own  beloved  home." 



God  rest  the  souls  of  the  Sullivans.  They  loved  Ireland  in 
their  own  way  as  dearly  as  did  the  Fenians.  T.  D.  in  his  very  in- 
teresting book  of  Recollections  says  that  in  1848,  Alexander,  then 
a  very  young  man,  started  to  join  Smith  O'Brien  in  Tipperary, 
but  on  the  way  he  heard  of  the  fiasco  at  Ballingarry  and  the 
arrest  of  O'Brien.  He  was  making  the  journey  from  Bantry  on 
foot.  T.  D.  also  gives  high  praise  to  the  sincerity  and  enthusiasm 
of  the  Skibbereen  men.  But  "Ah,  Im",  as  Tim  used  to  call  his 
brother,  was  wholly  unjustified  in  the  exposures  which  provoked 
the  retaliation  of  the  Fenians. 



Organ  of  the  Movement  Did  Fine  Propaganda  Work — The  Office 
Visited  Too  Much  by  the  I.  R.  B.  Members — Its  Correspon- 
dence Columns  Among  Its  Best  Features. 

The  Irish  People  has  been  described  by  many,  including 
Michael  Davitt,  as  one  of  Stephens's  mistakes,  but  I  entirely 
disagree  with  them.  The  theory  of  its  critics  was  that  it  ex- 
posed the  organization  too  much  and  thereby  helped  the  Gov- 
ernment. There  is  some  basis  for  the  criticism,  but  the  services 
of  the  paper  to  the  Cause,  in  my  opinion,  far  outweighed  the 
damage  it  did  in  this  direction.  It  was  established  in  Novem- 
ber, 1863. 

A  Revolutionary  Organization  that  numbered  80,000  men  at 
its  zenith  could  not  continue  to  be  in  the  full  sense  of  the  term 
a  secret  conspiracy.  The  people  had  to  be  converted  to  its  views 
and  committed  to  its  objects,  and  that  could  not  be  done  by 
a  whispering  campaign.  Secrecy  at  the  top  was  essential,  but 
the  Irish  are  a  loquacious  people  and  Stephens's  original  rules 
could  not  be  carried  out,  and  were  not.  There  must  be  a  public 
propaganda  and  that  could  only  be  carried  on  by  a  weekly  paper 
which  would  reach  the  general  public,  as  well  as  the  members 
of  the  organization. 

John  O'Leary,  the  Editor  of  the  paper,  in  his  Recollections  of 
Fenians  and  Fenianism,  and  Thomas  Clarke  Luby,  an  Associate 
Editor,  whose  Memoirs  are  not  in  book  form  (more's  the  pity) , 
have  fully  described  the  Irish  People  from  the  literary  stand- 
point, and  O'Leary  also  gives  very  interesting  details  of  the  finan- 
cial difficulties  which  had  to  be  overcome.  A  paper  of  the  char- 
acter of  the  Irish  People  is  never  a  financial  success  and  has  to 
seek  support  from  other  sources  than  the  public.  The  Irish 
People  managed  to  live  for  nearly  two  years  until  the  Govern- 
ment suppressed  it  on  September  15,  1865. 

I  shall  deal  with  phases  of  its  existence  hardly  mentioned  by 
O'Leary  or  Luby.  When  Stephens  decided,  after  much  consulta- 
tion with  prominent  members,  to  start  the  paper  he  got  Con 
O'Mahony,  his  Secretary,  to  write  a  circular  letter  to  the  active 
local  men  informing  them  of  the  project.  There  were  no  type- 
writers in  those  days,  so  Con  had  to  write  all  the  letters  with 




his  own  hand.  I  got  one  of  them,  not  by  mail,  but  by  hand, 
during  one  of  my  visits  to  Dublin  in  the  Fall  of  1863.  The  cir- 
cular pointed  out  the  necessity  for  a  newspaper  organ  to  replace 
"the  thing  called  the  Irishman",  gave  a  description  of  the  kind 
of  journal  contemplated,  and  asked  for  support  in  its  circula- 
tion. There  was  no  appeal  for  money.  If  my  memory  serves 
me  right,  Denis  Holland,  the  founder  of  the  Irishman  was  still 
its  editor  but  Pigott  who  was  Business  Manager  had  acquired  a 
grip  on  it. 

I  got  a  supply  of  the  first  number  and  was  greatly  puzzled 
by  the  pessimistic  editorial,  "Isle,  Race  and  Doom,"  which  I 
afterwards  learned  was  written  by  Stephens  himself.  All  I  could 
do  was  to  distribute  them  among  the  members  and  put  one  of 
them  on  file  in  the  reading  room  of  the  Catholic  Institute  in 
Naas.  I  was  enabled  to  do  this  by  supporting  Father  Hughes  in 
a  motion  to  have  the  London  Times  put  on  file.  He  was  bitterly 
opposed  by  Aleck  Byrne,  a  sturdy  blacksmith,  who  said:  "Father 
Hughes,  I'm  ashamed  of  you  for  proposing  to  bring  in  the  Times, 
the  arch  enemy  of  the  Irish  people,  to  be  read  by  our  members." 
I  wanted  the  Times  for  its  foreign  news  and  Father  Hughes 
wanted  it  for  other  reasons,  and  we  won  by  a  small  majority. 
After  this  he  could  not  very  well  object  to  placing  the  Irish 
People  on  file,  but  he  probably  never  read  a  line  of  it. 

I  got  a  bundle  of  25  every  week,  which  I  distributed  free.  I 
gave  five  of  them  free  every  Thursday  to  an  old  newsdealer  who 
kept  a  little  shop  at  the  corner  of  the  Sallins  Road  and  Main 
Street,  so  that  he  might  sell  them,  and  I  sent  a  few  by  mail  to 
prominent  people.  Two  country  school  teachers  whom  I  had 
sworn  in  and  whose  salary  was  only  £40  a  year  I  put  on  the 
mailing  list  in  the  office  of  the  paper,  as  they  lived  too  far  away 
for  me  to  deliver  them,  and  after  a  while  Con  O'Mahony,  who 
was  a  clerk  in  the  office,  sent  them  bills.  When  they  failed  to 
pay  the  bills  he  dropped  them,  and  when  I  heard  of  it  I  told 
Rossa,  who  was  Business  Manager,  and  he  reprimanded  O'Mahony 
sharply.  "You  know  the  miserable  salaries  that  country  school- 
masters get,"  he  said  to  O'Mahony,  who  had  been  a  teacher  him- 
self, "and  these  men  can  do  a  lot  of  good  by  handing  the  paper 
around."  Con  pleaded  "business  reasons",  and  Rossa  said:  "To 
the  devil  with  your  business  reasons.  The  organization  can't  be 
run  on  business  principles  and  we  must  push  it  in  every  way  we 
can.  Put  them  back  on  the  list." 

When  I  offered  him  payment  for  the  25  copies  I  was  getting, 
Rossa  asked  me:  "How  much  salary  are  you  getting,  John?"  I 
told  him  £50  a  year  and  he  said:  "Oh,  trash,  man,  you  have  a 
lot  of  expenses  to  bear"  (which  was  true)  "and  I  won't  take  your 



money."  He  then  told  O'Mahony  to  send  me  50  copies  and  no 

There  was  a  good  deal  of  that  kind  of  circulation,  and  some 
newsdealers  who  were  not  members  kept  the  paper  on  their 
stands.  But  the  paper  was  beginning  to  make  some  headway 
among  the  intellectual  classes.  When  the  paper  was  suppressed 
the  names  of  several  prominent  people  were  found  among  the 
list  of  subscribers. 

Among  those  I  recollect  were  Isaac  Butt,  Mr.  Bushe  (a  son  or 
grandson  of  the  man  Who  voted  against  the  Union),  Mrs.  Par- 
nell,  mother  of  Charles  Stewart  Parnell,  and  a  Protestant  Min- 
ister named  Gilmour. 

Mrs.  Parnell  herself  called  at  the  office  of  the  paper  to  hand 
in  her  subscription,  holding  a  little  boy  by  the  hand.  Many 
years  later  I  asked  her  was  it  Charles  and  she  answered:  "No; 
it  was  a  brother  of  his  who  died  before  reaching  manhood."  Mrs. 
Parnell  was  a  strong  sympathizer  with  the  movement,  and  in 
1866  paid  the  passage  to  New  York  of  several  of  the  American 
officers,  released  from  Mount  joy  Prison  on  condition  of  leaving 
the  country,  among  whom  were  Colonel  Michael  Kerwin  and 
Lieutenant-Colonel  John  W.  Byron.  She  also  sheltered  at  her 
home  in  Avondale,  County  Wicklow,  several  men  who  were  "on 
the  run". 

The  Minister,  Mr.  Gilmour,  was  Rector  of  Rathmore,  County 
Kildare,  and  a  splendid  man  in  every  way.  How  he  came  to  sub- 
scribe was  this:  There  was  a  little  old  man  named  Gallagher 
who  had  a  small  plot  of  land  in  the  Bog  of  Allen,  whose  father 
had  to  flee  from  Mayo  for  shooting  a  landlord  and  had  found  a 
refuge  in  the  Bog.  His  son  had  a  pony  and  a  small  creel  and 
he  eked  out  a  poor  living  by  selling  loads  of  turf  in  Naas.  As 
I  did  my  own  cooking  on  the  fine  kitchen  range  of  the  old  Cork 
Mail  Coach  office,  where  I  lived,  I  bought  my  turf  from  Gallagher 
at  three  and  sixpence  a  load,  and  swore  him  in.  One  day  the 
Minister  bought  a  load  from  him  and  when  it  was  delivered  Mr. 
Gilmour  was  not  in  the  house.  While  waiting  for  his  three  and 
sixpence  Gallagher  curled  himself  up  in  a  corner  of  the  creel 
and  was  absorbed  in  reading  the  Irish  People  when  the  Minister 
came  along  and  said  to  him:  "I  see  you  are  reading.  What 
paper  is  it?"  Gallagher  started  to  fold  it  up  and  put  it  in  his 
pocket,  not  wishing  to  let  the  Minister  see  it,  but  Mr.  Gilmour 
said:  "Let  me  look  at  it,"  and  the  old  man  reluctantly  gave  it  to 
him.  The  Minister  looked  over  it  with  great  interest  for  a  few 
minutes  and  said:  "Why,  this  is  a  fine  paper.  Where  did  you 
get  it?"  "From  a  man  in  Naas  that  I  sould  a  load  of  turf  to, 
sir,"  answered  Gallagher. 



The  Rev.  Mr.  Gilmour  at  once  sent  his  subscription  to  the 
paper  and  I  learned  later  in  New  York  from  Tom  Burke,  a 
Rathmore  man,  that  he  lent  it  every  week  to  a  doctor  and  a 
veterinary  surgeon,  who  were  neighbors  and  who  read  it  regu- 
larly. Tom  knew  the  Minister  very  well  and  told  me  he  was  a 
strong  Nationalist.  Tom  was  a  great  poacher  and  did  his  cours- 
ing while  the  Protestants  were  at  church.  On  his  way  home  he 
would  throw  a  hare  into  the  Minister's  kitchen  and  the  Minister, 
the  doctor  and  the  veterinary  surgeon  saved  him  from  punish- 
ment when  he  was  caught  once  by  Byrne,  the  owner  of  the 
Punchestown  Racecourse. 

The  principal  letter  writer  to  the  Irish  People  was  James  F. 
X.  O'Brien,  of  Cork,  who  was  convicted  for  his  part  in  the  Rising 
and  later  became  a  Member  of  Parliament.  His  letters  were 
always  long  and  well  written  and  were  signed  "De  l'Abbe".  He 
had  lived  in  New  Orleans  for  some  years  and  knew  French 
very  well. 

But  by  long  odds  the  best  of  the  letter  writers  was  Hugh  Byrne 
of  Tinahely,  County  Wicklow,  who  had  been  a  National  Teacher 
and  was  then  a  teacher  in  Singleton's  Academy  on  Dawson 
Street.  He  wrote  sometimes  over  the  signature  of  "Aodh  an 
tSleibhe"  and  at  other  times  "Hugo  del  Monte",  which  means  the 
same  thing  in  Spanish.  He  had  learned  Spanish  in  Nicaragua, 
where  he  accompanied  Walker  on  one  of  his  filibustering  expedi- 
tions. William  F.  Roantree,  who  had  also  been  in  Nicaragua, 
told  me  that  Walker  once  put  Byrne  in  the  stocks  for  lampooning 
him.  He  was  a  caustic  writer,  with  infinite  power  of  sarcasm, 
and  Walker  felt  the  sting  of  his  criticism  very  keenly.  One  of 
Byrne's  favorite  contributions  to  the  Irish  People  was  a  report  of 
the  debates  at  meetings  of  the  Laconic  Club,  an  imaginary 
organization  in  which  most  of  the  prominent  Fenians  figured 
under  various  appropriate  names  that  were  easily  recognized  by 
those  who  knew  them.  He  had  a  theory  that  most  Irishmen 
were  too  longwinded  and  he  took  that  method  of  teaching  them 
to  express  themselves  tersely.  "Con  the  Laconic"  was  Con 
O'Mahony,  and  the  cognomen  fitted  him  exactly,  so  that  all  his 
friends  recognized  the  character.  There  was  sound  political  doc- 
trine in  all  Byrne's  articles  and  he  put  a  great  deal  in  a  short 
space.  He  always  sent  in  his  contributions  as  articles,  but 
O'Leary  published  them  as  letters,  although  he  admitted  their 
literary  value. 

One  of  Byrne's  articles  satirized  leaders  who  spent  their  time 
"making  love  in  a  cottage  by  the  sea"  when  they  ought  to  be 
working  for  Ireland.  It  was  aimed  at  Stephens,  who,  after  his 
marriage  to  Jane  Hopper,  spent  his  time  idly  in  a  cottage  at 



Sandymount  and  for  a  while  became  less  active  in  the  move- 
ment. O'Leary  recognized  its  object,  but  he  inserted  it  because 
he  thought  the  criticism  was  deserved. 

Byrne  sometimes  drank  a  little  too  much  and  he  took  the 
pledge  binding  himself  to  take  a  drink  only  with  his  meals. 
Rossa  told  me  that  one  day  while  his  train  was  stopping  at  a 
station  in  Wicklow,  Byrne  was  on  the  platform  and  Rossa  asked 
him  to  take  a  drink.  He  told  Rossa  of  his  pledge  and  was  greatly 
troubled  at  not  being  able  to  take  a  drink  with  his  old  friend. 
At  last  he  said:  "Give  me  a  penny  cake,"  and  munched  it  while 
drinking  a  pint  of  porter.  That  was  "whipping  the  devil  around 
the  stump". 

One  of  the  most  interesting  letter  writers  was  a  Tipperary 
schoolmaster  named  Brougham,  whose  theme  was  always  the 
Felon-Setter,  a  type  then  rather  numerous  in  Ireland  and  very 
mischievous.  They  adopted  many  indirect  ways  of  calling  police 
attention  to  men  whom  they  believed  to  be  Fenians.  Brougham, 
who  wrote  over  the  signature  of  "Harvey  Birch"  (which  he  took 
from  Fenimore  Cooper's  novel,  "The  Spy"),  satirized  them  mer- 
cilessly, and  the  local  men  were  always  able  to  recognize  the 
fellows  he  aimed  at  very  easily  by  his  description  of  their 
methods.  His  dog,  "Dan",  had  an  unfailing  knack  of  recognizing 
the  Felon-Setter  by  the  scent  and  always  barked  a  warning  when 
one  of  them  was  approaching.  "Harvey  Birch's"  descriptions  of 
the  antics  of  the  dog  and  their  effect  on  the  Felon-Setter  were 
very  amusing  and  were  read  with  avidity  by  the  members  every- 
where. The  letters  were  always  short  and  as  laconic  as  Hugh 
Byrne  could  have  desired.   Brougham  died  in  New  York. 

The  editorials  were  all  good,  but  Kickham's  were  the  best 
because  there  was  more  concentrated  thought  in  them.  Luby's 
showed  wide  and  accurate  knowledge  of  his  subject,  for  he  was 
the  best  read  man  of  the  staff,  but  he  was  often  a  little  too 
diffuse.  O'Leary's  articles  were  brief,  but  he  paid  more  attention 
to  style  than  to  the  subject  of  the  article.  He  was  essentially 
a  critic  and  never  showed  enthusiasm,  which  was  a  fault  in 
writing  for  Irishmen.  He  was  an  admirer  of  the  London  Spec- 
tator, although  disagreeing  entirely  with  its  views,  and  there  was 
too  much  apparent  imitation  of  its  style  in  his  articles.  But 
Kickham,  in  spite  of  his  physical  disabilities,  understood  the  Irish 
people  better  than  all  of  them,  apparently  by  intuition,  and  went 
straight  to  their  hearts.  Judge  Keogh,  although  a  perjured 
ruffian,  also  understood  them,  and  selected  Kickham's  articles 
as  his  chief  point  of  attack  in  the  trials.  This  was  eloquent  tes- 
timony to  their  effectiveness,  though,  of  course,  Keogh  did  not 
know  who  wrote  them. 



The  Irish  People  was  not  the  equal  of  the  old  Nation  of  Duffy 
and  Davis,  but  it  approached  it  very  closely.  It  was  essentially 
a  teacher  and  it  filled  the  minds  of  the  people  it  reached  with 
ideas  which  took  a  firm  grip  on  their  minds  and  have  endured 
ever  since.  It  prepared  the  way  for  all  that  has  since  happened 
and  inspired  the  people  with  a  new  spirit.  The  fighting  Land 
League  would  not  have  been  possible  but  for  it.  Two  of  its  three 
principal  writers,  Kickham  and  Luby,  sympathized  with  the 
Land  League  as  the  forerunner  of  better  things,  although  they 
did  not  join  it,  while  O'Leary  deplored  it  as  blasting  his  darling 
hope  of  getting  the  gentry  into  the  National  Movement.  He  was 
not  a  practical  man.  The  gentry  were  England's  chief  agents  in 
holding  Ireland  down  for  England,  and  their  power  had  to  be 
broken  before  Ireland  could  make  real  progress  towards  Freedom. 
This  supplies  the  best  answer  to  those  who  believed  the  starting 
of  the  paper  to  be  a  mistake.  The  British  Government  did  not 
need  the  information  it  disclosed  of  the  existence  of  a  formidable 
movement  to  overthrow  its  authority  in  Ireland,  although  it 
showed  conclusively  that  the  men  who  led  it  had  great  ability. 

The  Irish  People  revived  the  spirit  created  and  fostered  by 
the  old  Nation  and  the  Young  Irelanders,  and  carried  down  their 
teachings  to  a  new  generation.  Time  has  vindicated  it. 



Stephens  Organized  Circles  in  the  Army  of  the  Potomac  with 
Full  Consent  of  the  Generals — Incriminating  Document 
Captured  on  the  Person  of  Charles  Underwood  O'Connell  on 
His  Arrival  in  Ireland — Proposal  for  Responsible  Council 
to  Govern  I.  R.  B.  Rejected. 

During  the  year  '64,  there  was  incessant  recruiting  activity  in 
Ireland,  and  there  were  three  events  of  more  than  ordinary 
importance.  Stephens  went  to  America  (I  believe  after  Kick- 
ham's  return) .  The  American  organization  forwarded  a  pro- 
posal suggesting  a  change  in  the  form  of  Government  of  the 
I.  R.  B.  Stephens  rejected  an  offer  by  George  Henry  Moore 
to  join  the  organization  after  O'Donovan  Rossa  and  Edward 
Duffy  had  secured  his  consent. 

In  America,  Stephens  was  allowed  to  visit  the  Army  of  the 
Potomac  and  organize  Circles  among  the  officers  and  men.  He 
was  furnished  with  letters  of  introduction  from  Colonel  B.  F. 
Mullen  to  the  Generals  at  the  front,  and  the  organization  in 
the  Union  Army  was  done  with  the  full  consent  of  the  latter,  who 
were  all  in  sympathy  with  the  movement.  Before  returning  to 
Ireland,  Stephens  gave  these  letters  to  Charles  Underwood  O'Con- 
nell for  safe  keeping. 

O'Connell  had  never  been  at  the  front  and  had  no  military 
experience  except  a  few  months'  service  in  the  Ninety-ninth 
New  York  National  Guard  (O'Mahony's  regiment)  guarding  Con- 
federate prisoners  at  Elmira,  N.  Y.  O'Mahony  left  the  manage- 
ment of  the  regiment  to  P.  J.  Downing,  the  Lieutenant-Colonel, 
who  had  seen  service  in  Meagher's  Brigade  and  was  a  very 
capable  officer.  He  had  been  in  the  Phoenix  movement  in  Skib- 
bereen  in  1858. 

When  Underwood  O'Connell  was  starting  for  Ireland  in  Sep- 
tember, 1865,  to  take  part  in  the  projected  Rising,  he  insisted  on 
taking  with  him  the  letters  entrusted  to  him  by  Stephens,  in 
spite  of  the  remonstrances  of  friends.  Captain  Michael  O'Boyle 
(an  Armagh  man  and  a  patriot  of  the  finest  quality)  met  him 
at  the  dock  and  tried  to  persuade  him  to  leave  them  in  safe 
hands  in  America,  but  O'Connell  replied:  "I  got  these  letters 
from  'The  Captain'  himself,  and  into  his  hands  alone  will  I 




deliver  them."  On  his  arrival  at  Queenstown  he  was  searched 
and  the  documents  seized. 

O'Connell's  vanity  brought  misfortune  on  himself  and  other 
men.  The  Government  had  no  evidence  against  him  except 
what  they  found  on  his  person  in  Cove  (Queenstown),  but  it 
was  enough  to  secure  him  a  sentence  of  ten  years  penal  servitude 
and  to  impose  heavier  sentences  on  the  other  prisoners  who 
were  then  awaiting  trial.  The  captured  letters  of  introduction 
were  used  by  the  English  Government  later  to  prove  the  existence 
of  an  international  conspiracy. 

The  Atlantic  cable  was  not  yet  in  operation  and  nobody  in 
New  York  knew  that  the  Irish  People  had  been  seized,  many  of 
the  leaders  arrested  in  Dublin,  and  that  the  British  Government 
was  engaged  in  a  strong  effort  to  crush  the  organization. 

There  had  been  at  various  times  tentative  efforts  to  get  into 
the  movement  such  well  known  men  as  The  O'Donoghue  (a 
grand-nephew  of  Daniel  O'Connell) ,  P.  J.  Smyth,  Alexander  M. 
and  T.  D.  Sullivan,  and  other  prominent  Nationalists,  but  they 
all  came  to  naught  mainly  because  of  the  fact  that  a  change  in 
the  government  of  the  organization  involved  the  creation  of 
some  kind  of  a  Council.  Stephens  was  not  willing  to  share  his 
responsibility  with  any  advisory  body,  although  in  1864  he  cre- 
ated an  "Executive"  that  never  took  any  action  and  never  for- 
mally met. 

The  idea  of  a  regularly  constituted  Council  or  Governing 
Body  for  the  I.  R.  B.  in  Ireland  was  formally  put  up  to  Stephens 
through  a  communication  from  the  Fenian  Brotherhood  in 
America,  which  the  men  in  Dublin  contemptuously  called  "The 
Thirty-two  Page  Document". 

Stephens  called  a  meeting  of  the  leading  men  throughout  the 
country  to  consider  it.  It  was  not  a  Convention  or  a  gathering 
of  a  body  with  definite  powers,  but  a  sort  of  meeting  of  notables, 
and  its  action  would  not  have  bound  Stephens  if  he  did  not 
approve  of  it.  Charles  J.  Kickham  presided,  although  the  pro- 
ceedings had  to  be  conveyed  to  him  through  an  ear  trumpet.  All 
the  Centres  of  Dublin  and  the  nearby  towns  were  present,  as 
well  as  several  from  country  districts.  It  was  a  very  representa- 
tive meeting.  It  was  held  in  Joseph  Denieffe's  house,  which,  if 
I  remember  rightly,  was  in  Denzille  Street.  I  happened  to  be  in 
Dublin  and  was  invited  to  attend  by  Con  O'Mahony,  Stephens' 
Secretary,  but  took  no  part  in  the  proceedings. 

After  a  very  full  discussion  the  proposal  was  rejected  by 
unanimous  consent,  but  there  was  no  formal  vote.  This  put  an 
end  to  all  chance  of  union  between  the  "moderate"  and  the 



"extreme"  sections  and  they  drifted  farther  and  farther  apart 
from  that  time.  It  also  ended  the  chance  of  forming  a  public 
movement  that  could  speak  for  the  country  in  any  emergency 
that  might  arise,  but  the  Fenians  did  not  see  the  necessity  for 
that  and  placed  their  whole  reliance  on  insurrection.  The  evil 
consequences  of  this  became  very  apparent  later,  as  the  country 
had  no  public  voice  until  the  Amnesty  Movement  was  organized. 

Calling  a  meeting  of  prominent  members  who  had  no  definite 
authority  and  putting  up  to  them  the  settlement  of  an  important 
question,  later  became  a  favorite  method  of  Stephens.  It  enabled 
him  to  relieve  himself  of  responsibility  and  place  it  on  others, 
without  creating  a  Council  with  which  he  might  at  some  time 
come  in  conflict.  The  lack  of  a  representative  Council  became  a 
great  handicap  as  events  developed. 

The  rejection  of  George  Henry  Moore's  offer  to  join  the  I.  R.  B. 
is  dealt  with  in  the  chapter  on  O'Donovan  Rossa. 



A  "Practical  Joke"  Which  Might  Have  Resulted  in  Heavy  Jail 
Sentences  for  I.  R.  B.  Men — Testimony  by  the  "Castle 
Cawtholic"  Devitt — Judge  Keogh  Made  Drunk  by  Counsel 
for  Defense. 

The  consecration  of  a  church  in  Kilkenny  on  Aug.  15,  1864, 
was  made  the  occasion  of  a  great  demonstration  by  the  Fenians. 
Excursion  trains  were  run  to  the  Marble  City  from  Dublin,  Cork, 
Limerick  and  Waterford,  and  people  gathered  there  from  every 
part  of  Ireland.  The  Fenians  went  in  large  numbers  on  all  these 
trains  and  several  thousand  of  them  were  in  the  immense  crowd. 
As  they  kept  grouped  in  separate  bodies  under  their  own  leaders 
and  the  latter  were  introduced  to  each  other,  the  men  were  able 
to  see  that  they  had  the  material  for  an  army  and  were  greatly 
encouraged.  No  regular  I.  R.  B.  meeting  could  be  held,  but  there 
were  many  dinner  parties,  and  the  marching  and  cheering  crowds 
on  the  streets  constituted  an  exhibition  of  strength  that  could  not 
be  mistaken.  The  men  went  home  in  high  spirits. 

On  the  way  back  to  Dublin  a  group  of  young  men  in  the 
second  last  car  of  one  of  the  excursion  trains  played  a  practical 
joke  which  led  to  the  arrest  of  two  of  them  and  their  trial  at  the 
next  Assizes  at  Naas.  At  the  station  at  Kildare,  John  O'Donovan, 
son  of  the  great  Gaelic  scholar,  then  a  student  in  Trinity  College, 
and  Matthew  Hunt,  a  medical  student  from  Cappoquin,  County 
Waterford,  tried  to  detach  the  last  car  of  the  train  to  give  their 
friends  in  it  a  scare,  but  as  there  was  a  double  coupling  and  they 
only  interfered  with  the  chain  one,  the  train  went  on  intact  to 
Newbridge,  which  is  the  next  station,  and  the  coupling  was  set 

At  the  Kingsbridge  Terminus  in  Dublin,  Hunt  and  a  printer 
on  the  Irish  People  named  Martin  were  identified  as  the  culprits 
by  a  Dublin  wine  merchant  named  Devitt  and  arrested.  Devitt, 
who  had  begun  life  as  a  porter,  was  a  purse-proud,  bumptious 
man,  with  a  face  that  indicated  a  liberal  consumption  of  his 
own  beverages.  He  was  a  "Cawtholic"  and  a  great  friend  of 
Archbishop  Cullen.  He  held  the  Fenians  in  holy  horror.  "Com- 
mon disturbers"  and  "riff-raff"  were  the  terms  most  commonly 
used  to  describe  them  by  this  snob,  who  had  once  been  a  work- 
ingman  earning  ten  shillings  a  week.   Devitt  had  dined  well  in 




Kilkenny,  but  was  sober  enough  to  do  a  chalk  line  and  he  was 
walking  up  and  down  the  platform  at  Kildare  "to  get  the  air" 
when  the  prank  was  played.  Martin  did  not  even  resemble 
O'Donovan,  but  the  pompous  Devitt  swore  positively  that  he  saw 
him  uncoupling  the  car. 

When  the  Assizes  came  on,  a  considerable  number  of  the  ex- 
cursionists were  on  hand  in  Naas  as  witnesses  on  one  side  or 
the  other,  but  by  far  the  greater  number  on  that  of  the  prisoners, 
who  had  been  released  on  bail. 

I  acted  as  commissary  for  a  large  number  of  the  visitors. 
Roantree  and  myself,  the  only  old  soldiers  present,  did  the  cook- 
ing on  a  range  which  had  once  provided  breakfast  for  the  pas- 
sengers going  south  from  Dublin  on  the  old  mail  coaches.  The 
house  where  I  had  bachelor  quarters  was  still  called  the  Cork 
Office,  and  there  was  a  fine,  spacious  kitchen.  We  had  a  plenti- 
ful supply  of  bacon  and  eggs,  bread,  butter  and  tea.  John  O'Don- 
ovan, Hunt  and  McConry  (a  '48  man  whom  I  had  known  when 
I  was  a  boy) ,  brilliant  fellows,  were  among  the  guests  and  their 
witty  jokes  and  stories  were  of  a  character  never  to  be  forgotten. 
I  may  say  in  passing  that  my  public  association  with  that  crowd 
riveted  the  attention  of  the  police  upon  me  while  in  Naas. 

References  to  the  Irish  People  became  quite  common  during 
the  cross-examination  of  witnesses  for  the  defense,  owing  to  a 
broad  hint  given  by  Devitt,  who  was  a  "felon-setter"  of  the  first 
water.  "What  is  your  occupation?"  asked  counsel  for  the  Crown 
of  Con  O'Mahony.  "I  am  a  clerk,"  answered  Con.  "What  kind 
of  a  clerk?"  "In  a  commercial  house."  "What  commercial 
house?"  "A  newspaper  office."  "And  what  might  be  the  name 
of  the  newspaper?"  O'Mahony  was  at  last  obliged  to  say  it  was 
the  Irish  People,  and  counsel  said,  "Ah,  that  is  the  Fenian  paper, 
isn't  it?"  Then  John  Neville  (whom  they  nicknamed  "Fire  Ball") 
was  obliged,  after  much  dodging,  to  admit  that  his  typesetting 
was  done  in  the  Irish  People  office  and  Jerry  O'Farrell  that  he 
also  worked  there.  Then  the  question,  "Do  you  work  on  the 
Irish  People,  too?"  was  asked  of  every  witness  and  wonder  was 
expressed  if  the  paper  could  come  out  that  week,  with  so  many 
of  the  staff  away. 

Counsel  for  the  defense  was  a  man  named  McKenna,  a  lawyer 
of  average  ability  who  looked  to  be  in  bad  health.  The  case 
against  the  accused  was  weak  from  the  start.  It  depended  mainly 
on  the  evidence  of  Devitt,  which  was  flatly  contradicted  in  the 
case  of  Martin  by  half  a  dozen  witnesses;  while  the  testimony 
of  the  engine  driver,  a  man  named  Mulvany  (who  was  not  then 
a  Fenian,  but  became  one  before  he  left  Naas)  showed  that  the 



train  was  not  placed  In  any  real  danger  from  the  partial  un- 
coupling. But  Billy  Keogh  was  the  judge  and  the  jury  were 
mostly  country  Tories,  liable  to  be  influenced  by  all  the  talk 
about  the  Fenian  paper.  So  McKenna  made  up  his  mind  early 
in  the  case  that  he  would  "get  on  the  soft  side"  of  Keogh,  whom 
he  knew  very  well.  "He  is  always  in  good  humor  when  he  is 
drunk,"  he  said.  "We'll  dine  together  this  evening  and  I  think  I 
can  manage  him." 

Keogh  and  the  other  judges,  when  they  came  to  Naas  for  the 
Assizes,  always  took  their  meals  at  a  quiet  sort  of  boarding  house 
kept  by  an  old  lady  whose  name  I  have  long  since  forgotten,  and 
who  set  a  very  good  table.  A  broken-down  servant  who  did  odd 
jobs  about  the  town  and  often  swept  out  my  rooms,  waited  on 
them.  He  knew  all  about  Keogh  sending  the  McCormacks  un- 
justly to  the  gallows,  but  that  did  not  seem  to  bother  him.  But 
Keogh  ate  meat  on  a  Friday — a  thing  the  old  man  wouldn't  mind 
in  a  Protestant — and  that  settled  it.  From  this  man  I  got  the 
particulars  of  Keogh's  dinner  on  the  last  day  of  the  trial. 

McKenna  dined  with  the  judge,  counsel  for  the  Crown  and 
the  Clerk  of  the  Crown  that  evening.  The  case  had  been  given 
to  the  jury  and  it  remained  out  several  hours.  By  order  of  the 
judge  the  jurymen  were  allowed  plenty  of  liquid  refreshment 
with  their  dinner  and  they  were  in  a  mellow  mood.  Two  or  three 
liberal  men  among  them,  I  afterwards  heard,  emphasized  the 
youth  and  good  appearance  of  the  accused  and  the  festive 
character  of  the  excursion,  and  somebody  pointed  out  that  Devitt 
was  a  great  Papist  and  a  friend  of  the  Archbishop.  The  Cullens 
were  a  Kildare  family,  so  between  religious  prejudice,  pity  for 
the  young  men,  dislike  of  men  like  the  bumptious  wine  merchant 
and,  above  all,  the  influence  of  sundry  jorums  of  punch,  they 
took  a  lenient  view  of  the  case.  They  found  Hunt  and  Martin 
guilty,  but  recommended  them  to  mercy. 

At  the  other  dinner  the  judge  and  the  lawyers  had  a  generous 
supply  of  wine,  and  they  topped  it  off  with  several  tumblers  of 
punch.  As  the  evening  wore  on  and  there  was  no  news  from  the 
jury,  they  smoked  and  chatted  and  sipped  their  punch  until 
finally  at  midnight,  word  was  brought  that  the  jury  had  agreed 
on  a  verdict. 

I  shall  never  forget  the  scene  in  court.  It  is  as  vivid  in  my 
memory  now  after  more  than  sixty  years  as  on  that  night  in  the 
courthouse  in  Naas.  The  jurymen  were  certainly  sober,  but  they 
had  taken  enough  to  put  them  in  good  humor,  and  it  was  easy 
to  see  that  they  enjoyed  the  scene  that  was  enacted  before  them 
as  they  would  a  comedy  in  a  theatre.  It  was  indeed  a  comedy 
of  the  most  solemn  character.    Every  one  of  the  diners  was 



drunk — solemnly  drunk,  and  looking  the  personification  of  judi- 
cial and  legal  dignity.   Even  the  Peelers  could  not  help  smiling. 

The  judge,  after  having  been  helped  on  with  his  robes  and 
his  wig,  made  an  attempt  to  mount  the  bench,  but  had  to  be 
helped  to  his  seat.  He  could  not  sit  straight  and  looked  as 
solemn  as  an  owl  with  a  "jag".  But  there  was  a  benevolent 
expression  on  his  face  which  showed  us  clearly  that  McKenna 
had  done  his  work.  Keogh's  tongue  was  thick  and  he  spoke  with 
great  difficulty. 

The  Clerk  put  the  question  to  the  jury  in  a  fairly  clear  voice 
and  the  foreman  announced  the  verdict  and  the  recommendation 
to  mercy.  The  judge  smiled  and  looked  at  McKenna,  who  arose, 
braced  himself  by  holding  the  railing  with  one  hand,  then  leaned 
against  it,  and  in  a  thick  voice  rehearsed  in  court  the  plea  for 
clemency  which  had  been  agreed  on  over  the  punch.  Then  his 
Lordship  turned  to  the  lawyer  for  the  Crown  and  said  something 
which  nobody  outside  the  railing  could  catch,  and  that  worthy, 
holding  on  to  the  back  of  a  chair  with  both  hands,  mumbled  out 
some  solemn  nonsense  about  the  enormity  of  the  offense,  and 
concluded  with  a  reference  to  his  Lordship's  well  known  charac- 
ter for  clemency,  but  expressed  the  hope  that  in  this  case  its 
exercise  would  not  tempt  other  young  men  to  follow  the  example 
of  the  prisoners  in  the  dock.  The  learned  counsel  nearly  missed 
his  chair  as  he  sat  down,  but  was  helped  by  an  attendant  and 
got  into  his  seat  in  safety.  Keogh,  who  had  been  nodding  during 
the  remarks  of  the  last  speaker,  made  a  vain  effort  to  sit  up 
straight  and,  while  his  body  swayed,  he  uttered  some  incoherent 
sentences  about  danger  to  travellers,  the  wild  pranks  of  youth 
and  the  responsibility  that  rested  on  the  shoulders  of  judges.  He 
had  to  cut  it  short  on  account  of  sheer  inability  to  continue  and 
wound  up  by  ordering  the  release  of  the  accused  on  their  own 
recognizances  to  appear  for  sentence  when  called  on.  Then  he 
beamed  on  the  prisoners,  and  McKenna,  with  some  difficulty,  got 
to  his  feet  and  thanked  his  Lordship  for  his  generous  action, 
which  was  also,  he  added,  eminently  just  and  proper  in  view  of 
the  character  of  the  evidence.  The  prisoners  were  released  and 
the  judge  and  his  fellow  diners  had  a  deoch  an  dorais  before 
going  to  bed. 

Mulvany  was  discharged  soon  after  the  trial  by  the  Great 
Southern  and  Western,  at  the  instance  of  Devitt.  He  and  the 
other  felon-setters  waged  unrelenting  war  on  the  Fenians,  many 
hundreds  of  whom  lost  their  jobs  in  this  way.  Mulvany  came  to 
the  United  States,  but  could  never  become  accustomed  to  Ameri- 
can railroad  methods,  which  he  considered  reckless  in  the  ex- 
treme.  He  had  "railroaded"  all  over  the  country  when  I  met 



him  on  Broadway  in  the  'seventies  and  the  recognition  was 
mutual.  "Always  get  in  the  last  car,  Johnny,"  he  said,  after 
reciting  some  of  his  experiences.  "If  she  goes  down  over  a  broken 
bridge,  you'll  have  a  chance  of  coming  out  on  top."  The  evidence 
he  gave  in  Naas  was  the  exact  truth,  but  telling  the  truth  in 
favor  of  Fenians  was  a  crime  in  the  eyes  of  the  felon-setters,  and 
Devitt,  the  pious  Cawtholic,  found  ready  listeners  in  the  True 
Blue  Directors  of  the  Great  Southern  and  Western  Railway. 

Matt  Hunt  died  of  consumption  about  a  year  from  that  trial. 
Poor  Martin  was  killed  in  a  collision  between  cabs  in  London  some 
years  later,  and  I  read  an  account  of  the  funeral  in  a  paper 
smuggled  into  Chatham  Prison. 

That  trial  was  the  only  occasion  on  which  I  ever  heard  of 
Billy  Keogh  being  merciful,  and  it  was  the  drink  that  did  it.  His 
florid  face  showed  that  he  was  a  confirmed  toper.  I  thought 
of  that  queer  midnight  scene  in  Naas  when  I  stood  before  Keogh 
in  Green  Street  Courthouse  for  sentence  three  years  later,  and 
again  in  New  York  when  I  read  the  cabled  report  that  he  had 
cut  his  throat  in  Belgium.  Drink  influenced  his  action  in  both 
cases,  but  he  must  have  had  some  remnant  of  a  conscience  and 
that  led  to  his  seeking  alcoholic  consolation  for  his  life  of  sordid 
treachery.  His  betrayal  of  the  people  was  rewarded  by  the  judge- 
ship and  he  prostituted  the  Bench  to  the  service  of  his  employers. 
And,  like  the  other  traitor,  Castlereagh,  Keogh  died  by  his  own 
hand,  setting  an  example  to  the  ruffian  Pigott,  which  the  latter 
followed  after  the  exposure  of  his  Parnell  forgeries. 

Billy  Keogh's  bitter  antagonism  to  Irish  Nationalists  was 
exhibited  with  most  effect  in  the  trials  of  the  Fenian  leaders. 
As  O'Donovan  Rossa  during  his  trial  defied  and  humiliated  him, 
I  will  relate  that  story  and  give  more  details  of  the  treachery  of 
Keogh  and  his  fellow  scoundrels  Sadleir  and  O'Flaherty,  in  the 
chapter  on  Rossa. 




Stephens  Announced  the  Fight  Would  Take  Place  in  1865 — 
Colonel  Kelly  Reported  Favorably  on  Conditions — P.  J. 
Meehan  and  the  "Lost  Documents". 

When  Stephens  returned  to  Ireland  after  his  American  trip 
he  announced  to  practically  everybody  that  the  fight  would  take 
place  in  1865.  "Next  year  is  the  year  of  action"  was  the  way  he 
put  it.  I  went  into  Dublin  very  often  and  always  visited  the  Irish 
People  office.  About  a  week  after  his  return  Con  O'Mahony  told 
me  "The  Captain"  wanted  to  see  me  and  I  called  on  him.  There 
was  nobody  else  present  and  I  found  him  in  fine  spirits.  After 
giving  me  a  glowing  account  of  conditions  in  America,  striding 
up  and  down  the  room,  as  was  his  custom,  he  said:  "We'll  fight 
next  year."  Knowing  the  utter  lack  of  arms,  I  said:  "What'll 
we  fight  with?" 

He  paused  in  his  walk,  turned  to  me  and  replied:  "Oh,  we'll 
get  all  the  arms  we  need  from  America.  We'll  have  more  than  a 
hundred  thousand  rifles  and  a  good  supply  of  artillery." 

I  asked:  "What  about  officers?"  and  he  assured  me  there  would 
be  plenty,  including  several  Generals  and  quite  a  number  of 
Colonels,  all  of  them  veterans.  "We'll  get  three  thousand  offi- 
cers from  Chicago  alone",  he  added. 

This  was  too  much  for  me  and  I  said:  "Why,  there  can't  be 
three  thousand  officers  in  all  the  Chicago  regiments".  He  saw 
that  I  was  a  doubting  Thomas  and  he  explained  that  he  meant 
the  Chicago  District,  which  included  the  whole  West. 

His  habit  of  exaggeration  was  incurable  and  while  I  was  much 
encouraged  by  his  account  of  affairs  in  America  I  could  not  help 
feeling  that  I  must  take  some  of  it  with  a  grain  of  salt. 

After  that  he  "swung  round  the  circle"  for  some  weeks,  visit- 
ing all  the  chief  cities  and  seeing  the  principal  workers,  with 
the  result  that  the  men  everywhere  were  filled  with  enthusiasm. 
Drilling  went  on  more  intensively  and  the  whole  organization 
felt  that  the  long  wished-for  fight  for  Freedom  was  coming  at 
last,  with  fine  hopes  of  success.  Had  the  Rising  taken  place  in 
1865  while  this  spirit  prevailed  and  the  organization  was  still 




intact,  instead  of  in  1867,  when  only  a  broken  remnant  of  it  re- 
mained and  many  of  the  best  men  were  either  in  prison  or  refu- 
gees in  England  or  America,  the  history  of  Fenianism  would  have 
been  very  different.  How  and  why  the  postponements  were  made, 
and  the  fight  decided  on  when  all  the  chances  of  success  had 
disappeared,  is  a  sad  record  of  blunders  and  incapacity  that  will 
be  told  elsewhere.  And  it  was  the  man  who  built  up  the  move- 
ment and  filled  it  with  enthusiasm  who  was  the  chief  cause  of 
the  failure.  Perhaps  it  would  be  more  correct  to  say  that  the  situ- 
ation got  beyond  him  and  that  he  had  not  the  capacity  to  deal 
with  it.  The  Split  in  America  unnerved  him  and  blasted  all  the 
high  hopes  he  had  cherished  of  military  and  financial  aid.  Splits 
have  proved  ruinous  to  every  Irish  movement  for  more  than  a 
century,  and  until  the  Irish  people  have  taken  that  lesson  to 
heart,  final  success  will  be  beyond  their  reach. 

This  particular  Split  which  occurred  in  the  Fenian  Brother- 
hood of  America  in  1865,  is  dealt  with  briefly  in  the  sketch  of 
John  O'Mahony.  It  would  require  a  large  volume  to  give  its  full 
history,  which  would  include  two  attempts  to  invade  Canada,  one 
in  1866,  the  other  in  1870,  and  examination  of  many  documents, 
with  reports  of  meetings  and  conferences,  personal  letters  and 
other  data,  of  which  I  am  not  now  capable.  It  is  a  most  inter- 
esting subject,  and  I  hope  it  will  some  time  be  dealt  with  by 
competent  hands. 

The  organization  in  Ireland  had  a  very  busy  time,  owing  to 
Stephens'  announcement  that  "next  year  (1865)  is  the  year  of 
action".  All  sorts  of  preparations  were  going  on,  except  the  es- 
sential one  of  procuring  arms.  That  was  ignored,  on  account 
of  "The  Captain's"  assurance  that  we'd  get  all  we  wanted  from 

Pike  making  was  the  only  kind  of  arming  thought  of,  and  that 
was  a  waste  of  time,  as  pikes  would  be  useless  against  long  range 
rifles.  Country  blacksmiths  made  many  and  Stephens  estab- 
lished a  pike  factory  in  Dublin,  under  the  management  of  Michael 
Moore,  who  was  a  blacksmith.  His  two  assistants  were  Patrick 
Kearney,  an  ex-British  soldier  who  was  one  of  the  Dublin  Centres, 
and  Michael  Cody,  one  of  Kearney's  "Bs".  The  assistants  did 
not  get  along  with  Moore  and  there  were  constant  disputes. 
Finally  two  separate  pike  shops  were  started,  with  Kearney  at  the 
head  of  the  second.  Kearney  was  a  man  of  great  natural  ability, 
with  a  strong  will  and  a  fiery  temper.  He  and  Cody  were  much 
criticized  for  the  trouble,  without  just  cause. 

Nicholas  Walsh,  an  artist  of  considerable  ability,  who  was 
Centre  of  one  of  the  smaller  Circles  in  Dublin  (he  died  some 



years  later  in  Florence) ,  commenting  on  the  finely  chiselled 
features  and  splendid  physiques  of  these  two  men,  said  to  me: 
"Why,  they  are  like  two  Greek  statues."  Kearney  died  in 
Dublin  a  few  years  later,  after  living  a  while  in  New  York,  and 
Cody  (who  educated  himself  in  prison  by  the  help  of  the  other 
prisoners) ,  became  head  of  the  organization  in  Australia  after 
his  release  in  1869,  and  lived  to  a  good  old  age. 

Kearney  had  a  fine  military  mind  and  said  that  pikes  would 
be  very  useful  in  street  fighting  in  Dublin,  which  he  favored,  in- 
stead of  "taking  to  the  hillside." 

Early  in  1865,  Capt.  Thomas  J.  Kelly  arrived  from  Amer- 
ica as  an  Envoy  to  report  on  the  military  situation  in  Ireland, 
so  as  to  satisfy  the  leaders  in  America  that  a  fight  that  year 
was  possible.  He  was  very  much  impressed  by  Kearney's  idea  of 
a  fight  in  Dublin  and  with  the  military  fitness  of  the  men  gen- 
erally. Instead  of  going  back  to  America  he  decided  to  remain  in 
Ireland  and  sent  his  report,  which  was  very  favorable  as  to  mili- 
tary possibilities,  by  messenger.  He  was  a  very  competent  judge, 
as  he  had  been  a  staff  officer  in  the  Army  of  the  Cumberland, 
with  opportunities  of  seeing  movements  on  a  large  scale  and 
knowing  why  they  were  made.  He  was  wounded  at  the  Battle 
of  Missionary  Ridge,  and  mustered  out  of  the  service. 

At  the  outbreak  of  the  Civil  War,  Kelly  was  working  as  a 
printer  in  some  city  in  Tennessee — I  don't  know  whether  it  was 
Memphis  or  Nashville — and  made  his  way  with  much  difficulty 
to  Cincinnati,  where  he  joined  the  Federal  Army. 

I  met  him  first  at  the  races  of  Punchestown  in  April,  1865,  with 
William  F.  Roantree,  and  Montague  of  the  Fifth  Dragoon  Guards 
who  had  deserted  and  gone  to  America,  but  had  been  ordered 
back  to  Ireland  by  Stephens  and  had  obeyed  the  order.  One 
would  expect  that  the  races  of  Punchestown,  at  which  several 
thousand  visitors  from  Dublin  were  always  present,  would  be 
closely  watched,  but  Roantree  and  I  knew  practically  all  the 
"G."  men  and  we  did  not  see  one,  and  in  the  evidence  given  at 
the  trials  later  there  was  not  a  word  said  about  it. 

Kelly  was  the  second  last  of  the  American  Envoys.  His 
action  in  deciding  to  remain  in  Ireland  and  cast  in  his  lot  with 
the  Home  Organization  seemed  to  have  been  conclusive  evi- 
dence to  the  doubting  Thomases  in  America  that  everything  was 
all  right  in  Ireland,  and  O'Mahony  began  to  send  over  officers 
steadily  after  receiving  his  report. 

The  first  to  arrive  was  Lieutenant-Colonel  John  W.  Byron  of 
the  Eighty-eighth  Regiment,  Meagher's  Brigade.  I  met  him  a 
few  days  after  his  arrival  at  the  European  Hotel  in  Bolton  Street, 



where  he  was  stopping.  He  was  wounded  in  the  foot  at  the  Bat- 
tle of  the  Weldon  Railroad,  taken  prisoner  and  remained  in  Libby 
Prison  until  the  end  of  the  war,  when  he  started  for  Ireland.  He 
was  from  Clogheen,  County  Tipperary,  and  when  he  went  there 
to  see  his  relatives,  made  the  acquaintance  of  Lord  O'Callaghan, 
who  invited  him  to  do  some  shooting  on  his  estate.  His  Lordship 
was  very  much  shocked  when  he  learned  a  little  while  after  that 
his  guest  had  come  from  America  to  help  to  overthrow  the  Brit- 
ish Government,  of  which  he  was  a  loyal  supporter. 

The  Envoy  previous  to  Kelly  was  Henry  C.  McCarthy,  Vice- 
President  of  the  Fenian  Brotherhood  in  America.  He  was  de- 
scribed as  a  very  able  man,  and  P.  W.  Dunne  and  the  Scanlans 
told  me  many  years  after  that  if  he  had  lived  there  would  have 
been  no  Split,  but  that  he  would  have  automatically  stepped  into 
O'Mahony's  place.  He  died  in  Chicago,  where  he  was  a  State 
Senator,  just  on  the  eve  of  the  Split.  I  met  him  in  Dublin  and 
he  impressed  me  as  a  very  clear-headed  man,  but  I  cannot  recall 
the  year,  though  I  think  it  was  1864.  He  also  made  a  favorable 
report  of  conditions  in  Ireland. 

The  last  Envoy  that  went  to  Ireland  was  Patrick  J.  Meehan, 
then  Editor  of  the  Irish  American,  New  York.  P.  W.  Dunne 
went  at  the  same  time,  and  I  gained  the  impression  from  numer- 
ous conversations  I  had  in  later  years  with  the  latter  that 
Meehan  was  not  sent  to  investigate  like  the  others,  but  that  he 
was  making  a  trip  to  Ireland  and  that  the  Fenian  Senate  made 
him  the  bearer  of  a  draft  for  a  large  sum  of  money  to  mark  their 
satisfaction  with  the  report  submitted  by  Kelly  (who  was  then 
and  afterwards  known  as  Colonel  Kelly),  and  he  had  a  note  of 
introduction  to  Denieffe. 

There  has  been  much  talk  ever  since  of  the  "Lost  Documents", 
but,  so  far  as  I  could  ever  learn,  there  were  no  documents  except 
the  note  of  introduction  to  Denieffe  and  the  draft.  The  Govern- 
ment never  produced  any  at  the  trials,  which  is  fairly  conclusive 
proof  that  they  had  not  any. 

The  note  of  introduction  and  the  draft  were  found  on  the 
platform  of  the  railroad  station  at  "Kingstown"  by  a  girl  em- 
ployed in  the  telegraph  office  and  given  to  the  Manager,  who 
(being  a  Loyalist)  turned  them  over  to  the  police.  The  report 
given  to  the  newspapers  at  the  time  exaggerated  the  importance 
of  the  find,  but  said  nothing  about  the  draft.  Denieffe  was 
called  on  by  P.  W.  Dunne  and  told  that  Meehan  was  coming 
to  visit  him  and  Dunne  arranged  the  meeting.  In  Denieffe's  ac- 
count of  his  interview  with  Meehan  he  says  that  Meehan  told 
him  he  had  lost  the  papers  and  the  draft,  and  described  his  later 




efforts  to  cash  the  "second  of  exchange",  but  does  not  mention 
the  amount  of  the  draft,  which  was  payable  to  him. 

Meehan  explained  that  he  had  pinned  the  papers  to  the  top 
of  his  drawers,  that  the  pin  got  loose  and  the  papers  fell  down 
without  his  noticing  it.  The  note  of  introduction  was  used  at 
the  trials  in  December  and  January,  and  it,  together  with  the 
draft,  helped  to  show  the  connection  between  the  Home  Organi- 
zation and  the  Fenian  Brotherhood  in  America,  but  the  proof 
was  by  no  means  conclusive.  The  Government  had  all  the  proof 
it  needed  in  the  documents  found  on  O'Connell,  but  the  draft 
showed  the  danger  of  allowing  the  movement  to  go  on. 

On  account  of  the  exaggerated  reports  in  the  newspapers  of 
the  importance  of  the  "Lost  Documents",  there  was  great  indig- 
nation against  Meehan  among  the  men  in  Dublin  and  some  hot- 
heads talked  of  killing  him,  but  Stephens  speedily  put  a  stop  to 
that.  The  worst  that  Meehan  could  be  accused  of  was  criminal 
carelessness.  He  must  have  talked  loosely  in  Dublin,  for  P.  J. 
Smyth  told  me  when  I  dined  at  his  house  in  1879  that  he  had 
sneered  at  the  movement  in  a  talk  with  him  as  having  no  rep- 
resentative men,  and  he  had  heard  that  Meehan  did  the  same 
with  Alex.  M.  Sullivan,  whom  he  knew  to  be  hostile  to  the  move- 
ment. But  there  was  no  foundation  whatever  for  a  charge  of 
treachery.  Meehan  was  shot  some  years  later  in  New  York  by 
Dr.  Keenan,  a  disgruntled  employe  of  the  organization,  but  his 
motive  was  personal  vengeance.  Meehan  carried  the  bullet  in  his 
body  to  the  grave.  The  truth  is  that  he  was  a  drinking  man  and 
was  undoubtedly  under  the  influence  of  liquor  when  the  incident 
of  the  "Lost  Documents"  occurred. 

I  knew  his  son,  Thomas  F.  Meehan,  during  the  Land  League 
days  and  he  was  a  most  estimable  man.  He  married  the  daughter 
of  Patrick  O'Rourke,  the  Treasurer  of  the  Fenian  Brotherhood. 



The  Fenian  Organization  in  the  British  Army  in  Fine  Shape — 
Morale  of  the  Fenian  Soldiers  Excellent — Competent  Men 
in  Charge  of  Groups  in  Each  Regiment — Plan  to  Blow  Up 
Woolwich  Arsenal  Not  Sanctioned. 

Stephens,  in  October,  1865,  placed  me  in  charge  of  the 
Fenian  organization  in  the  British  army  in  Ireland,  but  it  was 
impossible  for  me  to  visit  personally  all  the  military  stations.  I 
concentrated  my  efforts  on  Dublin,  the  Curragh  Camp  and  Ath- 
lone,  and  made  such  arrangements  as  I  could  to  have  the  sol- 
diers in  the  other  garrison  towns  looked  after  by  local  men. 

Several  of  our  best  men  throughout  the  country  made  frequent 
trips  to  Dublin  at  this  period  to  report  to  Colonel  Kelly  and  re- 
ceive orders,  and  I  saw  most  of  them.  I  was  able  thus  to  have 
the  military  organization  looked  after  in  a  general  way  by  com- 
petent men  in  Cork,  Fermoy,  Buttevant,  Limerick,  Waterford, 
Templemore,  Cahir,  Kilkenny,  Birr,  Mullingar,  Longford,  Dun- 
dalk,  Newry  and  Belfast.  These  men  did  no  recruiting,  but  kept 
in  touch  with  a  few  men  in  the  regiments.  Other  places  were 
wholly  unattended  to,  and  this  was  largely  true  of  most  of  Eng- 
land also.  It  was  a  time  of  stress,  and  we  had  to  confine  our 
operations  within  certain  limits. 

I  made  several  trips  to  the  Curragh  Camp,  where  our  interests 
were  looked  after  by  Daniel  Byrne  of  Ballitore,  County  Kildare,  a 
cousin  of  the  other  Daniel  Byrne,  who  aided  John  Breslin  in 
the  escape  of  Stephens.  He  worked  in  one  of  the  canteens  and 
knew  personally  the  best  men  in  the  camp  and  in  Newbridge 
Barracks.  There  were  then  about  3,000  men  on  the  Curragh,  of 
whom  we  had  1,200;  and  a  regiment  of  cavalry  and  a  battery  of 
artillery  were  in  Newbridge.  I  instructed  Byrne  to  do  no  recruit- 
ing. He  was  a  rather  imprudent  man,  whose  zeal  often  carried 
him  away.  After  a  time  he  had  to  leave  the  Curragh  in  order  to 
avoid  arrest  and  went  to  Dublin. 

Athlone  I  visited  twice.  It  was  a  most  important  position 
from  a  military  point  of  view.  Colonel  Keating,  in  his  work  on 
the  Defence  of  Ireland,  calls  it  the  most  important.  There  were 
then  30,000  rifles  and  a  lot  of  military  stores  in  the  arsenal, 
guarded  only  by  about  500  infantry,  a  battery  of  artillery  and 




about  forty  men  of  the  garrison  artillery.  The  infantry  was  com- 
posed of  the  Fifth  Foot,  one  wing  of  which — about  250  men — was 
stationed  in  Castlebar,  and  there  was  not  another  soldier  in  the 
whole  Province  of  Connacht.  Galway  and  Sligo  were  then  un- 
garrisoned.  The  majority  of  the  Fifth  were  Englishmen,  but  we 
had  200  good  men  in  the  regiment,  mostly  Ulster  Catholics,  and 
the  Centre  was  an  Armagh  man  named  Quinn,  a  quiet,  staunch, 
resolute  fellow,  entirely  devoted  to  the  Cause.  One  of  the  risks 
he  was  prepared  to  take  was  participation,  on  the  inside,  in  an 
attempt  to  capture  Athlone  by  surprise. 

In  Mullingar,  the  only  town  on  the  Midland  Railroad  between 
Dublin  and  Athlone  that  had  a  garrison,  there  was  a  regiment 
of  infantry  in  which  we  had  a  good  many  men.  They  were  looked 
after  by  the  local  Centre,  a  quiet,  discreet  man,  whose  name  I 
do  not  remember,  but  he  acted  under  the  direction  of  Captain 
Joseph  Carroll,  a  Tipperary  man  who  had  a  fine  record  as  an  of- 
ficer in  the  Union  army  in  the  American  Civil  War.  He  was  a 
Captain  in  the  Fifth  New  York  Cavalry,  served  under  Sheridan 
in  his  famous  Shenandoah  Valley  campaign  and  in  the  pursuit 
of  Lee's  army  up  to  Appomattox,  and  was  wounded  at  the  Battle 
of  Winchester.  Carroll,  who  had  been  assigned  to  the  command 
of  the  Mullingar  district,  took  up  his  quarters  at  a  hotel  at  the 
railway  station  kept  by  Mr.  Jude,  the  proprietor  of  a  then  famous 
Dublin  restaurant.  The  younger  Jude  had  taken  a  great  fancy 
to  Carroll,  who  swore  him  into  the  organization,  and  his  friend- 
ship for  a  time  diverted  suspicion  from  the  American  officer, 
who  was  supposed  to  be  stopping  there  for  his  health.  The  Cen- 
tre in  Mullingar  was  a  carpenter  working  for  the  Midland  Rail- 
way; the  head  waiter  in  the  restaurant  was  a  Dublin  member 
named  Thomas  Owens,  and  through  them  communication  was 
made  very  easy.  The  situation  was  so  well  in  hand  that  I  found 
it  necessary  to  pay  only  one  visit  to  Mullingar. 

In  Longford,  which  was  important  because  of  its  proximity  to 
Athlone,  there  was  a  regiment  of  cavalry.  It  was  looked  after  by 
the  civilian  Centre,  Thomas  F.  Williams,  to  whom  I  have  pre- 
viously referred.  He  made  frequent  trips  to  Dublin  in  1865-66,  so 
it  was  not  necessary  for  me  to  go  to  Longford  at  all. 

Birr,  where  there  was  a  regiment  of  infantry,  was  also  within 
supporting  distance  of  Athlone  and  was  attended  to  by  the  local 
Centre,  whose  name  I  do  not  remember.  There  was  not  a  soldier 
in  either  Meath  or  in  Queens  County,  although  Portarlington, 
where  there  is  an  important  railroad  junction,  from  which  a 
single-track  line  ran  to  Athlone,  would  naturally  require  a  gar- 
rison. If  I  recollect  aright  there  were  only  twenty-two  police- 
men in  Portarlington.   I  visited  the  town  in  October,  1865. 



As  we  meant  to  strike  our  heaviest  blow  in  Dublin,  Colonel 
Kelly  ordered  me  to  devote  my  best  efforts  to  the  garrison  there. 
I  had  the  accurate  figures  from  the  soldiers  then  and  I  estimated 
the  garrison  at  6,000  men,  the  majority  of  whom  were  Irish  and 
among  them  we  had  1,600  members.  Figures  sent  me  recently 
from  Dublin,  copied  from  the  Army  List  in  the  Libraries  and  cov- 
ering 1866,  would  make  the  garrison  smaller,  but  several  regi- 
ments I  knew  to  be  in  Ireland,  and  some  of  whose  men  I  have 
since  met  in  America,  do  not  figure  in  it,  and  there  is  no  mention 
of  artillery  or  engineers.  This  list  was  apparently  made  out  after 
the  whole  year,  but  the  Dublin  Freeman  in  those  days  published 
the  "Stations  of  the  Army"  once  a  month,  and  I  checked  off  my 
figures  by  that  at  the  time.  The  Sixth  Carbineers,  whose  arrival 
in  Dubin  I  witnessed  in  February,  1866,  and  whose  light  blue  uni- 
form I  distinctly  remember,  is  one  of  the  regiments  omitted  in 
the  list.  It  also  fails  to  mention  any  troops  stationed  in  Mullingar, 
Birr,  Longford  or  Castlebar,  and  I  knew  that  all  these  places  then 
had  garrisons. 

But  the  crack  Fenian  regiments — those  in  which  our  organi- 
zation was  best — are  all  in  the  list.  The  Eighth,  Twenty-fourth, 
Sixty-first  and  Seventy-third  Foot,  the  First  Battalion  Sixtieth 
Rifles,  the  Fifth  Dragoon  Guards,  Ninth  Lancers  and  Tenth 
Hussars  are  all  included,  as  stationed  in  Dublin.  The  Seventy- 
third  was  supposed  to  be  a  Scotch  regiment  and  wore  plaid 
trousers  and  a  Scotch  cap,  instead  of  the  usual  forage  cap,  but 
we  had  300  men  in  it,  and  the  Centre,  a  very  good  man  named 
Flynn,  reported  to  me  immediately  on  his  arrival  in  the  middle 
of  February,  1866.  Irishmen  were  also  numerous  in  several  of 
the  Highland  regiments,  wearing  kilts.  We  had  over  a  hundred 
men  in  one  of  them.  These  Irishmen  had  enlisted  in  Scotland. 

In  estimating  the  strength  of  the  garrison  of  Dublin,  we  in- 
cluded the  old  soldiers  at  the  Royal  Hospital,  Kilmainham,  as 
most  of  them,  though  not  capable  of  a  long  march,  would  be  fit 
for  duty  in  an  emergency  and  were  armed  with  the  old  musket. 
If  my  recollection  is  correct  they  numbered  2,000  men.  The  Old 
Man's  House,  as  the  Dublin  people  called  it,  was  then  the  Head- 
quarters of  the  Commander  of  the  Forces  in  Ireland  and  the 
capture  of  it  figured  in  all  our  calculations.  Sir  Hugh  Rose 
— afterwards  Lord  Strathnairn — was  the  man  who  blew  the 
Sepoys  "from  the  cannon's  mouth"  in  the  great  Indian  Mutiny 
(1857),  and  had  been  recently  installed  in  command  in  Ireland 
because  his  character  for  ruthless  sternness  seemed  to  fit  him 
best  for  the  work  of  putting  down  the  Fenians.  There  came  with 
him  to  Ireland  another  Scotch  soldier,  General  Sir  Alfred  Hors- 
ford,  who  had  a  fine  military  record  in  India  and  who  seemed 



to  me  to  be  a  more  capable  and  enterprising  man  than  Rose,  as 
his  management  of  the  short  campaign  against  Colonel  O'Connor 
in  Kerry  in  February,  1867,  seemed  to  prove. 

My  work,  as  ordered  by  Colonel  Kelly,  was  to  organize  the 
men  already  sworn  in,  rather  than  to  spread  the  organization,  but 
the  public  trials  stimulated  interest  among  the  soldiers,  and  men 
were  constantly  brought  to  me.  I  swore  in  some  hundreds  dur- 
ing my  four  months  of  activity,  but  my  chief  attention  was 
given  to  getting  the  men  in  the  various  regiments  into  shape. 
The  Centre  of  each  regiment,  except  the  Tenth  Hussars,  had  been 
appointed  by  my  predecessors,  but  no  men  had  been  assigned 
to  take  care  of  companies.  After  consultation  with  the  Centres 
I  picked  out  a  man  for  each  company  of  infantry  and  troop  of 
cavalry  and  got  the  Centres  to  appoint  them.  This  took  some 
weeks  and  later  the  men  in  each  company  were  divided  into 
sections,  or  squads,  with  a  man  in  charge  of  each,  so  that  by  the 
end  of  December,  1865,  the  organization  in  the  Dublin  garrison 
was  in  fairly  good  shape. 

While  there  was  a  very  general  knowledge  in  each  regiment  as 
to  the  men  who  were  in  charge,  there  was  little  certainty,  and 
each  group  of  men  only  knew  their  immediate  superior.  Not  one 
informer  was  able  to  name  the  Centre  of  his  regiment  and  the 
prosecutor  was  evidently  ignorant  that  such  a  man  existed.  But 
the  knowledge  as  to  membership  was  very  widespread,  not  only 
in  each  regiment,  but  in  the  whole  garrison.  A  Fenian  soldier 
very  quickly  found  out  another  and  a  remarkable  spirit  of  com- 
radeship was  developed.  There  was  a  very  ready  acceptance  by  all 
of  an  appointment  or  a  decision  and  a  remarkable  absence  of 
jealousy.  Soldiers  are  accustomed  to  obey  orders  and  the  spirit 
of  discipline  among  the  Fenians  in  the  army  was  admirable. 

Our  men  were  the  soberest  lot  of  soldiers  I  ever  saw.  Having 
to  meet  in  public  houses,  because  there  was  no  other  place  avail- 
able, some  drinks  had  to  be  called  for  as  an  excuse,  but  it  was 
never  whiskey,  and  the  quantity  of  porter  consumed  was  very 
small.  During  those  four  months  of  incessant  activity,  visiting 
public  houses  every  night,  with  from  ten  to  twenty  soldiers 
always  present,  I  did  not  see  half  a  dozen  of  our  men  even  slightly 
under  the  influence  of  drink.  I  have  a  distinct  recollection  only 
of  two  cases,  and  they  were  both  on  the  same  occasion,  at  a  gath- 
ering, with  none  but  our  own  men  present,  in  a  room  over  Hoey's 
public  house  in  Bridgefoot  Street,  where  the  bartender,  a  man 
named  Furey,  was  a  member.  I  am  reminded  forcibly  of  this 
by  the  testimony  of  one  of  these  two  men  at  the  trial  of  John 
Boyle  O'Reilly.  He  was  a  corporal  of  the  Tenth  Hussars,  an  Irish 
Cockney  named  Fitzgerald,  who  swore  that  he  was  drunk  on  that 



occasion,  as  an  excuse  for  not  having  a  clearer  recollection  ol 
what  took  place.  He  was  slightly  under  the  influence  of  drink 
but  he  had  got  it  elsewhere.  I  had  sworn  him  in  on  a  previous 
occasion  when  O'Reilly  brought  him  to  me,  but  he  swore  that  he 
never  took  the  Fenian  oath,  and  the  rest  of  his  testimony  was 
intended  to  clear  himself,  rather  than  to  convict  O'Reilly.  This 
necessity  was  put  upon  him  by  the  spy,  Patrick  Foley  of  the  Fifth 
Dragoon  Guards,  swearing  that  Fitzgerald  had  made  a  speech 
on  that  occasion.  He  did,  and  it  was  the  only  time  such  a  thing 
was  done. 

Our  business  with  the  soldiers  was  transacted  at  gatherings 
which  were  in  no  sense  meetings,  in  the  generally  accepted  mean- 
ing of  the  term.  Mostly  there  were  other  men  present,  both 
civilians  and  soldiers,  in  the  taprooms  where  those  gatherings 
took  place,  and  there  was  absolutely  no  discussion.  While  the 
others  sat  at  a  table,  conversing  about  nothing  in  particular,  I 
took  the  man  I  wanted  to  talk  to  aside  and  spoke  to  him  private- 
ly, either  receiving  reports  (which  was  most  commonly  the  case) , 
or  giving  orders.  When  men  were  brought  to  me  to  be  sworn  in, 
they  were  taken  out  into  the  yard  singly,  or  upstairs  to  an  un- 
occupied room,  if  in  a  friend's  house,  and  the  work  was  done 
there.  The  rule  was  that  a  civilian  should  do  the  swearing  in, 
so  as  to  minimize  the  danger  to  the  soldier  who  had  brought  the 

The  place  where  the  swearing  was  done  was  selected  be- 
cause of  the  privacy,  and  all  sorts  of  queer  and  out  of  the  way 
locations  were  made  to  serve  the  purpose.  At  an  earlier  date  in 
1865  I  had  stood  guard  on  the  Cabra  Road  while  Roantree,  my 
predecessor  in  charge  of  the  work  in  the  army,  swore  in  a  ser- 
geant of  police  in  a  field  just  inside  the  ditch.  They  lay  down, 
with  their  faces  to  the  ground,  as  if  enjoying  the  sun  and  a 
smoke,  and  the  little  prayer  book,  well  concealed,  was  passed  from 
hand  to  hand  while  the  oath  was  administered.  The  sergeant 
was  a  schoolfellow  and  boyhood  chum  of  Roantree  in  Leixlip.  He 
had  enlisted  in  the  army,  became  an  expert  at  drill  and  then 
joined  the  police  and  was  drill  instructor  for  the  Constabulary 
recruits  at  the  depot  in  the  Phoenix  Park.  The  prayer  book,  small 
enough  to  fit  in  the  vest  pocket,  was  carried  constantly  by  every 
Fenian  empowered  to  swear  in  men.  The  Bible  mentioned  by 
some  of  the  military  informers  was  never  used.  They  simply  in- 
vented it,  or  Captain  Whelan  (a  British  officer)  did  it  for  them. 

In  holding  these  gatherings  of  soldiers  we  avoided  the  places 
that  had  been  used  by  our  predecessors,  which  were  mostly 
situated  near  the  various  barracks,  and  were  known  to  the  police. 
We  selected  public  houses  owned  or  managed  by  friends,  and 



changed  them  frequently  when  we  had  reason  to  believe  we  had 
attracted  too  much  attention.  There  were  only  two  real  meet- 
ings of  soldiers  held— the  one  at  Hoey's  in  Bridgefoot  Street, 
already  mentioned,  and  the  other  in  the  private  parlor  of  Peter 
Curran,  over  his  public  house  in  Clare  Lane.  Here  I  gathered 
about  twelve  men  each  from  the  Fifth  Dragoon  Guards  and  the 
Tenth  Hussars  for  a  conference  with  Captain  McCafferty,  who 
had  been  an  officer  in  Moseby's  Guerrillas  in  the  Confederate 
Army.  Kelly  had  a  great  opinion  of  him  and  wanted  him  to 
meet  our  best  men  in  the  cavalry  regiments. 

McCafferty  had  done  some  very  daring  feats  in  the  Civil  War, 
of  which  Kelly  had  told  me.  On  one  occasion  he  had  got  inside 
the  Union  lines  with  a  detachment  of  Morgan's  men,  captured 
a  lot  of  ammunition,  loaded  it  on  steamers  or  tugs  which  he  had 
seized  and  brought  his  booty  down  the  Mississippi,  under  the  Are 
of  the  Federal  batteries.  I  had  related  these  stories  to  our  cavalry 
men  and  told  them  that  McCafferty  was  to  be  their  commander, 
or  would  pick  a  number  of  them  for  special  service,  so  they  were 
naturally  very  eager  to  meet  him. 

McCafferty  was  essentially  a  man  of  action,  very  chary  of 
words  and  his  manner  was  cold.  They  were  a  fine  body  of  men, 
highly  trained  in  the  old  school  of  cavalry  tactics  and  believers 
in  the  charge  with  sword  or  lance.  McCafferty's  experience  was 
with  irregular  cavalry,  who  never  charged,  and  who  only  fought 
at  close  quarters  when  necessary  in  their  raids,  and  depended 
mainly  on  the  revolver.  In  a  few  brief  words  and  with  a  very 
quiet  manner,  he  told  them  what  could  be  done  by  insurgent 
cavalry  under  existing  circumstances  in  Ireland.  He  began  by 
saying:  "I  believe  in  a  partisan  warfare."  Probably  only  O'Reilly 
and  one  or  two  more  knew  what  the  word  "partisan"  meant,  but 
if  he  had  said  "guerrilla"  warfare,  they  would  have  understood 
him.  One  of  them,  Martin  Hogan  of  the  Fifth  Dragoons,  was 
one  of  the  two  or  three  best  swordsmen  in  the  British  army  and 
had  cut  in  two  at  one  stroke  of  his  sabre  a  bar  of  iron  hanging 
from  a  barrack  room  ceiling.  "Do  you  mean,  sir,"  asked  Hogan, 
"that  you  wouldn't  use  swords  at  all?"  "Nothing  but  revolvers," 
said  McCafferty  quietly,  and  the  trained  swordsmen  were  all  dis- 

But,  if  they  had  a  chance  of  being  out  in  the  field  for  a  few 
days  with  McCafferty  he  would  soon  impress  them  with  the  prac- 
tical character  of  the  work  he  wanted  them  to  do.  Even  as  it 
was,  before  the  conference  was  over  they  began  to  understand 
him  better,  because  they  knew  he  had  seen  four  years  of  constant 
fighting.  But  they  also  knew  it  was  in  a  thinly  settled  country, 
very  different  from  Ireland.    With  new  men  who  could  ride  a 



horse,  as  most  country  Irishmen  can  do,  and  not  wedded  to  old 
traditions,  he  could  probably  have  done  better.  On  the  other 
hand,  if  they  had  met  Colonel  Kerwin,  whose  experience  was  in 
the  Army  of  the  Potomac,  in  which  cavalry  operations  were  not 
so  different  from  the  European  methods  of  warfare,  or  Captain 
Carroll,  whose  training  under  Sheridan  had  taught  him  to  fight 
on  horseback  or  on  foot,  as  the  circumstances  demanded,  they 
would  have  been  more  at  home.  And,  besides,  the  two  latter 
were  born  in  Ireland  and  spoke  with  an  Irish  accent,  only  slightly 
modified,  while  McCafferty  was  born  in  Sandusky,  Ohio,  had  lived 
many  years  in  the  South,  and  his  manner  of  speech  puzzled 

The  march  of  events,  however,  prevented  any  more  such 
meetings  between  American  officers  and  Fenian  soldiers.  Early 
in  1866,  on  account  of  the  disastrous  effects  of  the  Split  in 
America,  Stephens  sent  McCafferty  on  a  mission  to  New  York. 
The  alarm  of  the  British  Government  increased  rapidly  and  ar- 
rests became  more  frequent.  The  American  officers,  many  of 
whom  had  been  going  about  in  American  clothes  which  at 
once  attracted  attention — especially  their  square-toed  boots  and 
double-breasted  vests — had  to  make  themselves  less  conspicuous 
and  were  warned  that  they  must  be  seen  less  in  public  in  day- 

But  the  work  of  keeping  up  communication  with  the  soldiers 
already  sworn  in,  was  continued  in  the  only  way  it  could  be  done, 
by  meeting  them  in  public  houses  and  talking  to  them  individu- 
ally in  private.  The  informers,  in  their  evidence  at  the  courts- 
martial,  repeatedly  admitted  that  this  was  the  method,  but  most 
of  them  swore  falsely  that  the  words  "Fenians"  and  "Fenianism" 
were  constantly  used.  They  followed  this  plan  under  instructions 
of  Captain  Whelan,  the  Prosecutor,  in  order  to  clinch  the  case 
against  the  prisoners.  Neither  word  was  ever  used,  nor  was  the 
word  "society",  which  also  occurs  in  the  evidence  of  the  informers, 
because  they  were  wholly  unnecessary.  But  the  plainest  lan- 
guage was  employed  in  these  conversations  about  the  object  of 
the  movement — an  insurrection  to  free  Ireland  from  English  rule. 
Not  once  was  the  name  of  James  Stephens,  or  that  of  any  other 
man  in  Ireland,  used,  but  John  O'Mahony  was  often  spoken  of, 
because  he  lived  in  America  and  was  publicly  known  as  the 
leader  of  the  organization.  The  "Americans"  mentioned  by  the 
informers  as  being  present  at  meetings  were  also  myths.  No 
man  from  America  was  present  at  any  of  these  gatherings  except 
McCafferty  at  the  conference  before  referred  to. 

Besides  the  men  in  the  regiments  of  the  Dublin  garrison  and 
those  of  the  Eighty-seventh  who  had  come  over  from  Portsmouth, 



there  were  several  other  soldiers  who  had  been  induced  to  desert, 
had  been  supplied  with  clothes  and  sent  over  by  our  men  in 
various  parts  of  England.  This  was  done  without  orders.  The 
London  men  sent  a  batch  of  about  twenty.  These  men  did  not 
play  any  particular  role,  except  two  who  became  informers.  But 
there  was  one  man  who  would  have  played  a  very  important  part 
if  his  offer  to  do  so  had  been  accepted.  He  was  a  sergeant  of 
engineers,  a  Dublin  man  named  O'Brien,  who  had  come  home  on 
furlough  from  Woolwich.  He  was  a  member  of  a  Dublin  Circle, 
but  had  no  connection  with  any  of  our  men  in  the  army.  He 
was  brought  to  me  by  a  Dublin  member  who  guaranteed  his  good 
faith.  He  needed  no  guarantee  as  to  his  competency,  for  he 
talked  and  looked  like  a  man  of  unusual  intelligence. 

After  asking  me  a  few  questions  about  the  prospects  of  getting 
arms,  the  number  of  American  officers,  and  the  strength  of  the 
organization  in  the  army,  O'Brien  told  me  it  would  be  quite 
easy  to  blow  up  and  destroy  Woolwich  Arsenal,  or  the  vital  parts 
of  it,  and  that  he  was  prepared  to  undertake  the  task.  These 
were  not  the  days  of  dynamite,  but  the  material  for  the  job 
O'Brien  could  get  on  the  spot.  The  work  to  which  he  was  as- 
signed in  Woolwich  made  that  easy  and  he  made  no  stipulation 
about  money.  I  immediately  communicated  the  offer  to  Kelly, 
who  laid  it  before  Stephens.  I  did  not  see  Stephens,  but  Colonel 
Kelly's  report  of  his  answer  was  rather  disappointing.  Stephens 
was  apparently  somewhat  frightened  at  the  proposition,  said  it 
would  shock  the  civilized  world  and  that  we  were  not  ready  for 
that  kind  of  thing  yet.  Kelly  added  that  it  would  be  the  right 
thing  to  do  on  the  immediate  eve  of  the  fight,  and  that  was  what 
O'Brien  had  proposed.  O'Brien  was  more  than  disappointed  at 
the  answer;  he  was  evidently  very  much  disgusted.  He  said 
something  about  tender  hearted  Irishmen  being  unfit  to  fight  the 
English,  who  stopped  at  nothing.  That  was  the  last  I  saw  of 

The  organization  in  the  British  army  remained  in  good  shape 
up  to  the  end  of  February,  1866,  and  communications  were  per- 
fect. It  would  have  been  entirely  at  our  service,  if  the  fight  had 
taken  place  as  originally  planned,  in  1865,  or  at  any  time  up  to 
the  middle  of  February,  1866.  After  the  first  postponement,  in 
December,  1865,  it  continued  to  improve.  No  arrests  of  soldiers 
were  made  until  February,  1866,  but  even  the  arrest  of  a  few  of 
their  comrades  did  not  break  the  spirit  of  the  men.  So  long  as 
the  civilian  organization  remained  intact,  some  of  them  were 
able  to  meet  the  organizers  every  night.  The  word  was  passed 
from  man  to  man  in  the  barracks  that  everything  was  all  right 
and  the  soldiers  remained  cheerful  and  hopeful.  Up  to  the  third 



week  in  February  there  was  no  difficulty  in  passing  messages  in 
and  out  of  the  barracks,  and  for  long  after  that — so  long,  in 
fact,  as  the  well  organized  regiments  remained  in  Ireland — we 
could  have  relied  on  them. 

It  was  the  repeated  postponements  of  the  fight  and  the  sub- 
sequent demoralization  of  the  civilian  movement  which  enabled 
the  Government,  by  courtsmartial  and  terrorism,  to  shatter  our 
organization  in  the  army.  But,  even  then,  the  disaffection  re- 
mained and  the  best  proof  that  England  feared  it  was  afforded 
by  the  sending  of  all  the  principal  Fenian  regiments  out  of  Ire- 
land. They  were  all  gone  before  the  Rising  of  March  5,  1867,  but 
the  supposedly  Scotch  Seventy-third.  There  were  many  Fenians 
in  the  regiments  which  replaced  those  sent  abroad,  but  com- 
munication had  been  broken  off  and  there  could  be  no  concerted 

How  this  situation  was  brought  about  can  only  be  explained 
by  recording  the  incidents  which  led  to  the  two  postponements 
of  the  intended  insurrection.  Although  that  is  part  of  the  his- 
tory of  the  civil  organization,  it  comes  in  more  appropriately  here 
because  it  decided  the  fate  of  Fenianism  in  the  British  army. 



The  "Irish  People"  Seized  and  Many  Leaders  Arrested — Stephens, 
Kickham,  Duffy  and  Brophy  Captured  at  Fairfield  House — 
Stephens  Defied  the  Government  in  Court. 

In  the  Summer  of  1865  the  Government  began  to  realize  that 
they  had  a  formidable  movement  to  deal  with  which  could  no 
longer  be  treated  with  contempt.  Smollen  and  Dawson,  two  of 
the  smartest  of  the  "G."  Division,  as  the  Detective  Branch  of  the 
Dublin  Police  was  called,  were  constantly  watching  the  Irish 
People  office  and  trailing  men  from  there  to  their  homes  or  to  the 
railway  stations.  But  the  Government's  chief  source  of  informa- 
tion was  Pierce  Nagle,  Clerk  of  St.  Laurence  O'Toole  Church,  who 
was  employed  as  a  folder  in  the  Irish  People  office  for  one  day 
in  the  week.  He  had  been  a  resident  of  Tipperary  before  coming 
to  Dublin,  but  was  a  native  of  Kilkenny.  He  was  a  spy,  not  an 
informer,  and  had  been  supplying  the  Government  with  informa- 
tion for  some  time  before  it  decided  to  act. 

Stephens  trusted  Nagle,  although  he  was  generally  disliked, 
and  used  him  as  a  messenger  to  carry  important  communica- 
tions to  Tipperary,  all  of  which  he  allowed  the  Castle  officials  to 
read  before  he  delivered  them.  I  was  among  those  who  disliked 
Nagle,  on  account  of  his  whining,  insinuating  manner,  and  I  was 
not  surprised  when  his  true  character  was  revealed. 

The  blow  fell  on  Thursday  evening,  Sept.  15,  1865.  Practically 
the  whole  "G."  Division  and  a  strong  force  of  uniformed  police 
swooped  down  on  the  Irish  People  office,  seized  the  paper  and 
arrested  everyone  they  found  on  the  premises,  as  well  as  many 
who  joined  the  crowd  after  the  raid  began.  Others  were  arrested 
at  their  residences  and  Stephens  had  a  narrow  escape.  He  was 
meeting  some  of  the  men  at  the  lodgings  of  James  Flood  when 
a  man  rushed  in  and  reported  the  seizure  of  the  paper.  Stephens 
at  once  went  away  and  the  police  arrived  a  few  minutes  later, 
only  to  find  that  the  bird  had  flown.  They  probably  did  not 
then  know  that  he  was  living  as  "Mr.  Herbert"  at  Fairfield  House 
in  Sandymount. 

In  the  waste  paper  basket  all  the  "copy"  of  the  articles  in 
the  suppressed  number  was  found,  including  a  letter  of  mine 
censuring  Father  Hughes,  the  Parish  Priest  of  Naas,  for  de- 
nouncing the  organization  and  saying  that  a  branch  of  it  existed 




in  the  town.  His  sermon  started  the  police  into  renewed  activity 
and  every  suspected  man  was  shadowed  continuously  for  more 
than  a  week.  In  fact,  they  were  all  present  in  the  church;  the 
police  stared  at  them  and  they  stared  back  defiantly.  This  fact 
was  stated  in  my  letter. 

The  letter  was  made  the  basis  of  a  warrant  for  my  arrest,  but 
it  did  not  arrive  in  Naas  until  several  days  later.  Other  war- 
rants were  issued  on  letters  and  other  papers  found  in  the  Irish 
People  raid. 

Among  those  arrested  at  the  time  of  the  seizure  of  the  Irish 
People  office  on  Sept.  15,  or  within  the  next  few  days  were  Thomas 
Clarke  Luby,  John  O'Leary  and  O'Donovan  Rossa.  Several  ar- 
rests were  also  made  in  Cork  and  other  cities.  The  Castle  evi- 
dently hoped  to  bag  all  the  leaders  at  one  swoop,  but  did  not 
succeed.  It  was  a  hard  blow,  all  the  same,  but  it  did  not  pro- 
duce the  effect  intended.  The  Government  hoped  it  would  strike 
terror  into  the  rank  and  file,  but  it  had  the  contrary  effect. 
Irishmen  are  always  at  their  best  in  the  face  of  danger  and  they 
are  best  of  all  when  their  backs  are  to  the  wall  facing  heavy 
odds.  A  few  ran  away,  but  the  great  majority  rose  splendidly  to 
the  occasion  and  became  more  active  then  ever.  Many  outsiders, 
some  of  them  men  of  standing,  joined  the  organization  through- 
out the  country  and  recruiting  went  on  rapidly. 

Stephens  lay  quiet  and  entrusted  the  management  of  the 
organization  to  Colonel  Thomas  J.  Kelly  (later  rescued  in  Man- 
chester) and  he  was  a  more  efficient  manager  than  Stephens 
himself.  He  had  kept  away  from  the  Irish  People  office  and  the 
Government  was  apparently  unaware  of  his  presence  in  Dublin. 
The  "G."  Division  were  good  enough  as  thief  catchers,  but  were 
no  good  for  political  work.  Their  whole  reliance  was  on  in- 
formers and  shadowing.  Nagle  knew  nothing  of  Kelly  and  his 
knowledge  of  the  organization  was  very  limited. 

Stephens  was  arrested  at  Fairfield  House,  Sandymount,  on 
Nov.  11,  1865,  with  Charles  J.  Kickham,  Hugh  Brophy  and  Edward 
Duffy.  He  had  been  staying  there  for  months  under  the  name  of 
Herbert.  Dublin  Castle  had  no  knowledge  of  his  whereabouts, 
and  the  other  men,  all  wanted  by  the  police,  were  his  guests. 
There  were  many  versions  of  how  the  detectives  discovered  his 
presence  at  Fairfield  House;  his  own  opinion  was  that  he  was 

Some  documents  were  seized  by  the  detectives,  among  them 
being  a  list  of  the  American  officers,  with  the  amount  of  money 
paid  to  eacb. 



The  following  account  of  the  proceedings  in  the  Magistrate's 
Court  when  the  prisoners  were  arraigned  for  trial  is  taken  from 
the  Dublin  Freeman's  Journal  of  November  15: 

Some  time  elapsed  before  Mr.  Stronge  took  his  seat  on  the 
Bench,  and  during  the  interval,  the  prisoners,  who  did  not 
seem  in  the  least  depressed,  occupied  themselves  in  conver- 
sation and  in  reading  the  daily  papers.  Mr.  C.  R.  Barry, 
Q.C.,  M.P.,  Law  Adviser,  appeared  for  the  Crown.  The  prison- 
ers had  no  professional  assistance  when  the  proceedings 
opened,  but  Mr.  Irwin,  Solicitor,  attended  on  behalf  of  Mr. 

Mr.  Stronge,  addressing  the  prisoners,  said:  "Before  any 
oral  testimony  is  gone  into,  I  wish  to  tell  you  I  am  about  to 
read  the  informations  of  the  witness  Nagle.  After  they  are 
read  oral  testimony  will  be  given  applicable  to  the  charge, 
and  it  will  be  open  to  any  of  you  to  cross-examine  the  wit- 

Stephens:  Would  it  answer  your  purpose  to  suppose 
those  papers  read? 

Mr.  Stronge:  That  cannot  be  done.  There  are  others  be- 
sides you  charged. 

Stephens:    They  will  say  the  same. 

Mr.  Stronge:  I  shall  now  read  the  informations  of  Pierce 
Nagle.  Let  him  be  sent  for. 

Kickham:  I  wish  to  remark  that  I  am  very  deaf  and  in 
order  that  I  may  not  let  anything  pass  unexplained  or  un- 
contradicted, I  ought  to  be  allowed  to  look  at  the  documents. 

Mr.  Stronge:  Certainly. 

Mr.  Stronge  then  read  the  first  informations  of  Pierce 
Nagle  giving  his  account  of  his  connection  with  the  Fenian 
Brotherhood,  and  the  facts  he  learned  respecting  the  promi- 
nent members  of  the  Organization  and  their  movements  be- 
fore his  (Nagle's)  arrest.  James  Stephens  was  the  Chief 
of  the  Brotherhood  in  Ireland.  He  went  under  the  name 
of  "J.  Power"  and  was  called  "The  Captain".  The  informant 
referred  to  a  letter  which  Stephens  sent  to  be  read  to  the 
members  at  Clonmel.  This  letter  was  signed  "J.  Power"  and 
it  was  read  to  the  Fenians  at  Clonmel  by  Nagle.  Amongst 
other  statements  in  the  letter  was  one  "That  this  should  be 
the  year  of  action".  When  Mr.  Stronge  read  this  passage 
Stephens  said,  "So  it  may." 

After  the  examination  of  Nagle,  Mr.  Barry,  Q.C.,  asked 
Stephens  to  explain  to  Kickham  that  he  (Kickham)  could 
have  time  to  read  it  if  he  wished. 

Stephens  (to  Kickham) :  Proceedings  have  been  stayed 
until  you  read  this.  Read  it  carefully. 

Kickham:  Go  on  with  something  else.  I  do  not  like  to 
cause  delay. 

Mr.  Nath  Halbert  was  then  sworn  and  examined  by  Mr. 

Mr.  Halbert:  I  am  the  owner  of  Fairfield  House,  Sandy- 

Mr.  Barry:    Did  you  see  that  agreement  signed? 
Mr.  Halbert:    I  did,  by  Mr.  Herbert. 
Mr.  Barry:    Do  you  see  Mr.  Herbert  here? 
Mr.  Halbert:    I  do  (pointing  to  Stephens). 


Stephens:    How  long  did  I  occupy  the  house? 
Mr.  Halbert:    From  the  1st  July. 
Stephens:    Then  I  was  there  four  months. 
Mr.  Halbert:  Yes. 

Stephens:  I  want  that  to  be  known  for  the  edification 
of  the  Detective  Police. 

Stephens:  Did  I  represent  myself  as  the  son  of  Rev.  Mr. 

Mr.  Halbert:    No  such  thing. 

Mr.  Stephens:  I  state  that  for  the  enlightenment  of  the 
Liberal  press. 

After  the  evidence  of  Stephens's  arrest  was  read,  Stephens 
said  he  wished  to  ask  a  question  of  witness  (Inspector  Clif- 
ford) . 

Stephens:  How  much  money  did  you  find  in  the  pocket- 

Clifford:  £26. 

Stephens:    Do  you  swear  that?  Yes. 
Did  you  say  you  opened  the  bookcase?  Yes. 
Did  you  find  any  documents  in  it?   I  did  not  search  it. 
Did  you  find  any  money  in  it?   I  did  not  search  it. 
Am  I  at  liberty  to  ask  you  who  searched  it? 
Mr.  Stronge:    Certainly.    (To  Witness)  Do  you  know  who 
searched  it? 

Witness:    Inspector  Dawson  searched  it  in  my  presence. 

Mr.  Barry  said  he  would  read  some  of  the  documents 
found.  One  of  the  documents  was  a  list  of  officers  who  had 
received  fees  since  their  arrival  here,  together  with  the 
amount  advanced,  and  that  paid  to  them  on  the  other  side 
previous  to  their  embarkation.  In  one  column  which  was 
headed  "name"  there  were  the  names  of  twenty-four  per- 
sons, with  their  ranks.  The  next  column  was  sums  ad- 
vanced. The  sums  varied  from  £1  to  £4.  The  next  head  was 
"amount  advanced  in  the  United  States".  The  sums  varied 
from  £48  to  £37.  One  was  marked  "paid  his  own  expenses". 
Two  persons  had  received  £70  and  others  various  sums  rang- 
ing from  £10  to  £70.  The  next  column  was  "time  of  sailing" 
and  the  dates  were  Sept.  1st,  1865,  and  various  periods  ex- 
tending back  to  August. 

After  the  closing  of  the  case  for  the  Crown,  Mr.  Stronge 
asked  the  prisoners  if  they  had  anything  to  say. 

Stephens:    I  am  not  bound  to  say  anything. 

Mr.  Stronge:  I  may  as  well  tell  you  at  once  that  the  case 
is  so  clear  against  you  that  I  shall  be  bound  to  commit  you. 

Mr.  Lawless  here  whispered  a  few  words  to  Stephens. 

Stephens  (to  Lawless) :  You  look  upon  this  matter  as  a 
lawyer.   I  look  upon  it  as  a  patriot. 

Stephens:  I  feel  bound  to  say  in  justification  of,  rather 
than  with  a  view  to,  my  own  reputation,  that  I  have  em- 
ployed no  lawyer  or  attorney  in  this  case,  and  that  I  mean 
to  employ  none,  because  in  making  a  plea  of  any  kind  or 
filing  any  defense  (I  am  not  particularly  well  up  in  those 
legal  terms)  I  should  be  recognizing  British  Law  in  Ireland. 
Now  I  deliberately  and  conscientiously  repudiate  the  exis- 
tence of  that  law  in  Ireland — its  right  or  even  its  existence 
in  Ireland.  I  defy  and  despise  any  punishment  it  can  inflict 
on  me.   I  have  spoken. 



Selected  as  Temporary  Head  of  the  Organization — This  Action 
a  Bad  Mistake  Which  Was  Speedily  Retrieved — Stephens 
from  His  Prison  Cell  Ordered  Millen  to  America. 

A  few  days  after  Stephens'  arrest,  and  before  his  rescue,  a 
meeting  of  the  Dublin  Centres  and  such  of  the  county  ones  as 
happened  to  be  in  town,  with  all  the  members  of  the  Military 
Council,  was  called  by  Colonel  Kelly  to  deal  with  the  emergency. 
The  meeting  was  held  in  a  spacious  room  over  Haybyrne's  bar- 
ber's shop  in  Wicklow  Street,  and  was  very  well  attended.  Some 
of  the  Dublin  Centres  had  been  arrested,  but  their  places  had 
been  promptly  filled  and  the  new  men  were  all  present.  Hay- 
byrne  was  an  old  'Forty-Eight  man  and  his  son,  Patrick,  was  a 
very  active  member,  but  not  a  Centre.  He  acted  as  sentinel  and 
piloted  the  men  to  the  room  as  they  arrived. 

The  dissatisfaction  over  the  lack  of  military  preparation  found 
expression  in  an  effort  to  put  a  military  man  temporarily  in 
Stephens'  place.  Several  of  the  old  Centres  and  practically  all 
the  new  ones  came  to  me  before  the  formal  opening  of  the  meet- 
ing and  insisted  that  I  propose  General  Millen,  Chairman  of  the 
Military  Council,  for  the  position.  We  knew  nothing  of  Millen, 
except  that  he  was  Chairman  of  the  Military  Council,  and  we 
had  been  told  that  he  had  been  a  General  in  the  Mexican  Army, 
and  we  believed  it  would  be  easier  to  elect  him  on  that  account. 
If  a  military  man  were  at  the  head,  we  thought,  he  would  natur- 
ally start  the  necessary  military  preparations.  Kelly,  who  was 
Secretary  of  the  Military  Council,  would  have  been  the  ideal 
man,  but  he  had  only  held  the  rank  of  Captain,  while  Millen 
was  a  General,  and  Kerwin,  Denis  F.  Burke  and  Halpin  were 
Colonels,  and  we  thought  it  would  look  bad  to  put  a  man  of 
lower  rank  over  their  heads. 

I  made  the  motion  and  Matthew  O'Neill,  Centre  of  the  second 
largest  Circle  in  Dublin,  seconded  it.  We  were  greatly  surprised 
when,  one  after  the  other,  all  the  members  of  the  Military  Coun- 
cil, except  Millen  himself,  spoke  against  the  motion.  They  said 
nothing  against  Millen,  but  it  was  quite  evident  that  they  had  no 
confidence  in  him.  They  pleaded  for  delay  and  urged  that  no 
hasty  action  be  taken.  Halpin,  who  was  a  very  good  speaker, 
with  much  experience  in  American  political  campaigns,  spoke 




very  plausibly  against  taking  any  action  until  Stephens  was  re- 
leased (a  thing  we  all  expected) ,  and  said  we  should  take  no  "leap 
in  the  dark."  He  made  no  attack  on  Millen,  but  the  insinuation 
that  he  was  unfit  for  the  position  ran  through  all  his  remarks. 
Kerwin,  who  was  not  a  practiced  speaker  at  that  time,  put  his 
objections  mainly  on  technical  grounds,  while  Burke,  who  was 
rather  blunt,  came  nearer  to  attacking  Millen  than  any  of  the 
others.  Kelly  put  his  objections  wholly  on  the  certainty  that 
Stephens  would  be  out  in  a  few  days  and  would  resume  the  lead- 
ership.  But  all  the  military  men  were  opposed  to  the  proposal. 

John  Hickey  of  Dunleary,  or  Kingstown,  as  it  was  then  called, 
made  the  longest  speech  against  the  motion,  but  none  of  the 
other  old  Centres  opposed  it.  A  man  named  Hetherington  from 
Mullinavat,  on  the  border  of  Kilkenny  and  Waterford,  who  was 
"on  his  keeping"  in  Dublin,  spoke  briefly  against  it,  but  the 
motion  was  passed  by  a  large  majority  subject  to  the  approval 
of  the  absent  Centres,  and  the  meeting  adjourned,  with  the 
understanding  that  another  would  be  called  as  soon  as  Stephens 
was  heard  from. 

In  the  meantime  the  following  bit  of  excitement  took  place. 
Superintendent  Hughes  was  shot  at  the  very  door  of  the  Head 
Police  Office  beside  the  City  Hall,  but  was  not  seriously  wounded. 
The  man  who  shot  him  was  Tom  Frith,  the  first  man  I  swore  in 
after  taking  the  oath  myself.  His  father  kept  a  cattle  yard  in 
Newmarket  at  the  corner  of  Ward's  Hill,  where  cows  were  kept 
while  waiting  to  be  shipped  to  England,  and  a  boarding  house 
where  the  dealers  stopped..  The  family  were  from  the  Barony  of 
Forth  and  Bargy  in  Wexford,  where  the  people  were  of  mixed 
Norse  and  Welsh  descent,  and  Tom  was  a  silent,  taciturn  man, 
but  a  mechanical  genius.  He  had  invented  a  die  to  cut  the  cop- 
per for  percussion  caps,  and  had  made  hand  grenade  casings. 
Frith  had  also  carefully  marked  on  a  map  of  Dublin  the  buildings 
that  should  be  occupied  when  we  started  the  fight.  They  in- 
cluded all  those  seized  by  the  men  of  Easter  Week,  1916,  and  sev- 
eral others.  He  believed,  like  Paddy  Kearney,  that  we  ought 
to  fight  in  the  city,  instead  of  taking  to  the  hills. 

Frith  told  me  and  two  or  three  others  of  his  intention  to  shoot 
one  of  the  prominent  police  officers  as  a  reply  to  the  arrest  of 
Stephens,  and  we  tried  to  dissuade  him,  but  he  insisted,  although 
we  were  all  under  orders  not  to  resist  arrest,  but  we  pleaded  in 
vain.  His  revolver  was  a  cheap  "Brummagen"  one,  loaded  only 
with  loose  powder  plugged  with  paper  several  weeks  previously. 

Frith  stood  under  the  railing  of  the  City  Hall,  which  is  raised 
above  the  sidewalk,  as  Hughes  was  about  to  turn  into  the  little 



alley  in  which  the  Head  Police  Office  was  situated  and  fired  at 
him.  Superintendent  Hughes  was  only  slightly  wounded  (the 
powder  being  ineffective) ;  he  lay  on  the  sidewalk  a  full  minute 
before  anyone  ventured  out  of  the  Central  Office  to  pick  him  up. 
They  evidently  feared  there  would  be  more  shooting. 

Frith  walked  leisurely  over  to  Crampton  Court,  where  a  friend 
was  waiting  with  a  jaunting  car,  and  he  reached  his  room  in 
Bolton  Street  in  safety.  I  got  him  off  to  Liverpool  the  next  day 
and  he  lived  there  for  many  years. 

Millen  had  arranged  that  one  of  the  men  should  be  the 
medium  of  communication  between  him  and  the  Dublin  Centres, 
and  it  was  this  man  that  put  Frith  on  the  jaunting  car  who  was 
selected.  I  was  waiting  in  Fitzpatrick's  little  public  house  at  the 
corner  of  Dame  and  George's  Street,  where  the  bartender,  John 
Hollowed  (later  a  prosperous  liquor  dealer  in  Chicago)  was  one 
of  our  trusted  men.  When  this  man  came  in,  his  face  was  very 
pale  and  an  excited  look  in  his  eyes.  I  knew  the  job  had  been 
done  and  he  was  about  to  speak,  but  I  signalled  him  to  say  noth- 
ing, as  there  was  only  a  little  space  outside  the  counter,  at  which 
three  or  four  men  were  standing. 

After  our  conversation  he  decided  to  report  to  General  Millen, 
and  I  accompanied  him.  We  found  Millen  at  tea  with  a  lady,  to 
whom  he  did  not  introduce  us,  and  whose  face  seemed  familiar 
to  me,  but  I  did  not  recall  who  she  was  until  I  heard  later  that  he 
had  married  a  Miss  Power  of  Tipperary,  who  was  engaged  to 
Denis  Dowling  Mulcahy,  one  of  those  recently  arrested.  There 
was  strong  feeling  against  both — against  her  for  breaking  her  en- 
gagement and  him  for  taking  a  mean  advantage  of  an  impris- 
oned man. 

Millen  was  greatly  upset  by  the  news  and  expressed  the  hope 
that  none  of  the  "As"  were  concerned  in  the  act — meaning  the 
Centres.  But  he  had  no  instructions  to  give  and  we  left  him  in 
a  few  minutes. 

At  the  second  meeting  called  by  Col.  Kelly,  Millen  was  not 
present,  but  he  sent  a  long  letter  in  reply  to  one  from  Stephens 
(written  in  his  cell  and  brought  to  Kelly  by  Michael  Breslin), 
ordering  Millen's  return  to  the  United  States  "to  take  command 
of  the  expedition".  Millen's  letter  protested  against  the  order, 
said  he  was  getting  from  the  Centres  throughout  the  country 
letters  of  approval  of  his  election  by  the  Dublin  men  and  that  he 
was  about  to  start  for  Belgium  to  purchase  arms. 

The  admission  that  he  was  going  to  leave  the  country  pro- 
duced a  very  bad  effect,  which  was  emphasized  by  Kelly  hinting 



(not  to  the  whole  meeting,  but  in  conversation  with  individuals) 
that  Millen  intended  to  abscond  with  all  the  available  funds, 
which  he  had  insisted  must  be  turned  over  to  him. 

Those  who  were  responsible  for  selecting  Millen  were  turned 
against  him  by  his  letter  (which  was  a  bid  to  resist  Stephens' 
order)  and  I  moved  that  the  motion  I  had  proposed  at  the  pre- 
vious meeting  be  rescinded  and  it  was  done  by  a  unanimous  vote. 
None  of  us  ever  saw  Millen  in  Ireland  again.  Further  reference 
to  him  will  be  found  in  the  chapter  on  James  J.  O'Kelly. 



Liberation  of  the  Fenian  Chief  from  Richmond  Prison,  Dublin — 
Effected  by  John  J.  Breslin,  Hospital  Steward,  Aided  by 
Daniel  Byrne,  Night  Watchman — Strong  Bodyguard  Received 
Him  Outside  the  Walls. 

Stephens'  defiant  speech  when  arraigned  before  the  magis- 
trate to  be  committed  for  trial  led  the  public  to  believe  that  he 
had  strong  resources  at  his  back.  A  week  later  most  people  felt 
that  on  the  day  of  his  arraignment  he  knew  all  about  the  ar- 
rangements for  the  rescue  from  prison,  which  afterwards  took 
place  on  November  24,  1865,  and  that  this  knowledge  justified  his 
attitude  of  defiance.  He  ever  after  encouraged  this  belief,  but  the 
simple  truth  is  it  was  utterly  without  foundation.  Stephens  at 
that  time  knew  nothing  whatever  of  the  possibility  of  escape  and 
the  idea  had  not  yet  entered  the  mind  of  the  man  who  after- 
wards conceived  and  executed  the  plan  which  restored  the  Chief 
Organizer  to  liberty. 

Strictly  speaking,  it  was  not  an  escape,  but  a  rescue.  The  ac- 
counts published  in  the  newspapers  at  the  time  were  all  wrong 
and  references  to  it  in  books  since  then  are  equally  misleading. 

A.  M.  Sullivan,  although  corrected  in  a  public  letter  by  the 
principal  actor  in  restoring  the  captive  to  freedom,  says,  even  in 
the  last  edition  of  his  "New  Ireland",  that  Stephens  made  his  exit 
through  the  front  door  of  the  prison.  The  British  Government 
has  never  done  justice  to  the  Portuguese  Governor,  Marquess, 
whom  the  Castle  officials  dismissed  for  alleged  criminal  negli- 
gence in  connection  with  the  escape.  And  there  were  thousands 
of  Irishmen  who  believed  for  many  years  after  that  the  Fenian 
Chief  was  released  with  the  connivance  of  the  British  Govern- 

The  story  of  the  Rescue  from  Richmond  Prison  is  as  follows: 

Among  the  officers  of  the  prison  were  John  J.  Breslin,  hospital 
steward,  and  Daniel  Byrne,  one  of  the  two  night  watchmen. 
Byrne  was  a  member  of  the  Fenian  organization,  having  been 
sworn  in  by  Captain  John  Kirwan,  the  ex-Papal  Zouave,  but 
Breslin,  although  a  man  of  strong  Nationalist  opinions,  did  not 
belong  to  the  I.  R.  B.  Neither  was  his  brother  Michael  a  Fenian, 
who  just  then  was  a  clerk  in  the  Police  Superintendent's  of- 




flee,  a  station  which  enabled  him  to  render  most  important 
service  to  the  conspirators. 

John  Breslin  had  a  conversation  with  Stephens  in  the  prison 
the  day  after  the  arrest  and  made  up  his  mind  at  once  that 
he  was  a  superior  man.  He  had  a  day  off  a  little  later  and  found 
that  his  brother  Niall,  who  was  an  active  worker  in  the  move- 
ment, was  full  of  some  idea  about  getting  Stephens  out.  He 
asked  Niall:  "Is  this  man  necessary  to  the  organization?"  Niall 
assured  him  that  he  was  and  John  replied  that  it  couldn't  amount 
to  much  if  the  loss  of  one  man  could  hurt  it  so  badly.  However, 
he  added  that  it  would  be  easy  enough  to  take  him  out,  but,  with 
the  airs  common  to  Irish  elder  brothers  to  their  juniors  added: 
"I'd  like  to  hear  it  from  someone  of  more  importance  than  you." 
Niall  put  him  in  communication  with  Colonel  Thomas  J.  Kelly 
and  the  work  of  preparation  for  the  rescue  was  at  once  begun. 
All  the  communications  between  Kelly  and  the  prison,  whether 
verbal  or  written,  were  carried  on  through  Michael  Breslin, 
who  went  there  in  his  police  uniform,  and  his  visits  never  aroused 
the  faintest  suspicion.  He  even  brought  in  the  false  keys  with 
which  the  doors  were  opened. 

John  Breslin's  daily  tour  through  the  prison  with  the  doctor 
gave  him  many  opportunities  for  communicating  with  the 
prisoners.  He  not  only  accompanied  the  doctor  and  took  down 
his  directions  about  medicine,  but  went  back  and  delivered  it, 
retaining  the  keys  until  his  work  was  done.  He  had  ample 
opportunity  for  personal  interviews  with  Stephens  and  kept  him 
fully  informed. 

The  plan  was  very  simple  and  effective,  and  was  Breslin's  in 
every  detail.  Stephens  occupied  one  of  the  hospital  cells  in  a 
small  corridor  on  the  third  floor.  The  only  other  occupants  of 
the  corridor  were  his  colleague,  Charles  J.  Kickham,  and  a  regular 
jailbird  named  McLeod.  The  Governor,  to  provide  against  any 
possibility  of  escape,  had  a  police  sentinel  placed  on  the  other 
side  of  the  door  leading  to  that  portion  of  the  prison  where 
O'Leary,  Luby,  Mulcahy,  Roantree  and  the  other  Fenian  prisoners 
were  quartered,  while  the  other  entrance  to  the  corridor  was 
secured  by  two  doors,  one  of  wood  and  the  other  of  iron.  McLeod 
was  in  a  cell  between  those  of  Stephens  and  Kickham,  and  had 
orders  from  the  Governor  to  ring  his  gong  on  the  first  sound  of 
anything  unusual  in  the  neighboring  cells.  This  would  have  at 
once  given  the  alarm  and  have  effectually  prevented  escape.  The 
policeman  could  not  unlock  the  door  between  him  and  the  cor- 
ridor, and  the  iron  door  at  the  other  end  could  only  be  opened 
by  the  pass  key,  which  was  locked  in  the  Governor's  safe.  The 
Governor's  office,  where  all  the  keys  were  deposited  at  a  certain 





hour  every  evening,  was  effectually  protected  from  all  attempts 
from  the  inside  by  a  heavy  iron  gate,  locked  on  the  side  facing 
the  main  entrance. 

Breslin  had  a  latch  key  which  opened  the  door  of  the  hospital, 
where  he  slept,  and  that  leading  to  the  portion  of  the  prison 
where  Stephens  was  confined.  To  enable  him  to  enter  the  cor- 
ridor he  must  have  a  pass  key,  and  to  open  the  cell  door  another 
key*  He  took  impressions  in  beeswax  of  the  regular  keys  in  use 
in  the  daytime,  and  new  ones  were  filed  down  to  fit  the  impres- 
sions by  Michael  Lambert,  an  optician  who  was  an  active  Fenian. 
Even  at  this  early  stage  of  the  affair  a  hitch  occurred  which 
showed  the  lack  of  precision  and  promptness  characterizing  the 
whole  Fenian  movement.  The  beeswax  was  not  forthcoming  at 
the  time  appointed.  After  waiting  several  days  Breslin  was 
obliged  to  go  out  and  buy  it  himself,  thus  running  the  risk  of 
giving  a  clue  to  the  police  that  might  be  the  means  of  convicting 
him  if  brought  to  trial.  The  keys  were  finally  in  Breslin's  hands, 
but  even  at  the  last  moment  he  was  obliged  to  do  some  filing  on 
one  of  them,  and  to  run  some  extra  risk  by  fitting  it  to  the  lock 
of  a  door  that  Byrne,  his  colleague  in  the  enterprise,  could  not 

The  keys  having  been  fitted,  Colonel  Kelly  was  notified  and 
'arrangements  were  made  to  receive  Stephens  on  the  outside  of 
the  prison  walls.  Byrne  was  on  watch  every  second  night. 

So  sure  were  the  authorities  of  the  safety  of  the  captives  that 
no  military  guard  was  placed  in  the  prison,  but  a  regiment  of 
cavalry  and  a  battery  of  artillery  were  quartered  at  Portobello 
Barracks,  within  fifteen  minutes'  walk.  The  only  guard  was  a 
detachment  of  Metropolitan  Police,  four  of  whom  were  stationed 
inside  the  main  entrance  and  others  at  various  points  in  the 
prison.  That  night  care  was  taken  that  they  were  given  plenty 
of  porter  and  they  were  in  a  heavy  sleep  on  their  chairs  when 
the  event  came  off. 

At  the  inception  of  the  plot,  Colonel  Kelly  sent  for  me  and 
told  me  the  duty  I  was  to  perform.  For  various  reasons,  I  hap- 
pened to  be  better  acquainted  with  the  local  officers  and  rank 
and  file  of  the  Dublin  organization  than  any  man  then  within 
Kelly's  reach.  He  told  me  he  wanted  me  to  pick  out  from  ten  to 
twelve  of  the  very  best  men  I  knew  in  Dublin  for  a  special  work, 
requiring  courage,  coolness,  and  self-control.  They  all  ought  to 
know  how  to  use  revolvers,  but  were  not  to  use  their  arms  even 
if  fired  upon,  unless  ordered  to  do  so.  They  were  to  be  capable 
of  making  a  desperate  fight  if  necessary.  I  was  to  avoid  as  much 
as  possible  selecting  Centres,  American  officers  or  men  filling 
other  positions  demanding  constant  attention.    Kelly  did  not 



then  tell  me  the  exact  nature  of  the  work,  but  I  had  no  doubt  it 

was  to  rescue  "The  Captain". 

A  few  days  later,  when  I  reported  for  his  approval  the  men 
I  had  selected,  he  told  me  it  was  to  act  as  a  bodyguard  for 
Stephens  on  his  release  by  men  inside  the  prison;  that  there 
would  probably  be  no  need  for  us,  but  we  were  to  be  on  hand 
in  case  any  accident  should  interrupt  the  escape.  A  dozen  men, 
he  said,  would  be  quite  enough,  including  himself  and  two  others. 
These  two  were  John  Ryan,  the  son  of  a  Liverpool  dry  goods 
merchant,  a  splendid  type  of  man,  mentally  and  physically,  and 
Michael  Lambert,  the  optician.  He  told  me  I  was  to  have  charge 
of  the  party  under  his  directions,  and  I  was  to  conceal  them  in 
small  squads  in  positions  covering  every  avenue  of  approach  to 
the  prison. 

I  selected  nine  men,  whom  I  considered  to  be  the  best  fitted 
for  all  the  possibilities  involved  in  the  attempt.  Nearly  all  of 
them  were  wanted  by  the  police,  and  many  afterwards  suffered 
imprisonment.  Most  of  them  had  seen  some  kind  of  service.  All 
knew  how  to  handle  both  rifle  and  revolver.  Paddy  Kearney 
was  of  exceptional  courage  and  decisive  character.  Michael 
Cody  possessed  great  strength  and  determination.  He  was  an 
ex-Dublin-militia  man  and  had  a  weakness  for  punching  peelers 
occasionally.  John  Harrison  was  a  corn  porter  of  magnificent 
proportions,  who  had  spent  some  time  in  the  English  navy  and 
seen  service  at  Bomarsund  under  Admiral  Napier.  He  had  never 
had  any  difficulty  with  the  police,  but  had  knocked  out  the  best 
men  among  the  Dublin  coal  porters  who  were  at  that  time  mostly 
anti-Fenians.  Denis  Duggan  was  a  young  coach  builder,  who 
had  served  in  the  English  Volunteers,  and  was  noted  for  his  cour- 
age and  coolness.  Jack  Mullen  was  the  son  of  a  Dublin  shop- 
keeper and  had  led  a  roving  life.  When  a  boy  he  had  enlisted  in 
the  English,  and  had  later  on  served  in  the  American  navy,  par- 
ticipating in  some  of  the  principal  naval  fights  of  the  Civil  War. 
Matthew  O'Neill  was  a  Dublin  stonecutter,  who  had  never  seen 
any  service.  He  was  Centre  of  one  of  the  most  important  Circles 
in  the  City,  and  was  a  man  of  fine  physique.  Jack  Lawler  had 
never  been  a  soldier,  and  was  rather  small,  but  was  recommended 
as  a  man  of  great  pluck.  William  Brophy  was  a  carpenter  and  a 
strong  man.  Pat  Flood,  a  Dublin  cork  cutter,  was  a  powerful 
man,  and  an  old  member  of  the  organization.  These,  with  Kelly 
and  the  two  men  chosen  by  him,  and  myself,  were  the  only  per- 
sons outside  the  walls  of  Richmond  prison  that  night. 

Colonel  Kelly  informed  me  that  a  supply  of  revolvers  would  be 
ready,  so  that  each  man  would  be  fully  armed  and  prepared. 



None  of  these  men  was  informed  of  the  nature  of  the  work  on 
hand,  but  Colonel  Kelly  confided  the  secret  to  some  of  those 
around  him,  and  they  in  turn  revealed  it  to  a  "few  friends".  I 
learned  after  the  rescue,  that  in  this  way  the  news  spread  until 
at  least  200  men  in  Dublin  knew  of  it.  The  subject  had  become  a 
pretty  general  topic  of  conversation  among  the  officers  of  the  or- 
ganization. This  led  to  serious  embarrassment.  Scores  of  men, 
especially  the  recently  arrived  Irish-American  officers,  felt  hurt 
because  they  were  not  chosen  to  take  part  in  the  affair,  and  they 
angrily  remonstrated.  One  man,  a  civilian,  who  heard  the  rumor 
just  as  he  was  leaving  for  the  south,  was  so  overjoyed  at  the 
prospect  that  on  the  very  night  of  the  escape  he  confided  the 
knowledge  to  a  soldier  of  the  Fourth  Royal  Irish  Dragoon  Guards, 
then  stationed  at  Ballincollig,  County  Cork,  whom  he  wanted  to 
swear  in.  The  trooper  refused  to  be  sworn  in,  and  immediately 
gave  information  to  the  authorities,  who  sent  it  to  the  Castle.  It 
reached  Cork  Hill  about  the  time  the  news  of  the  escape  was 
spreading  dismay  among  the  officials.  Had  the  dragoon's  story 
reached  Dublin  a  few  hours  earlier,  Stephens  would  have  been 
sent  to  break  stones  in  Portland  with  O'Leary,  Luby,  and  his  other 
lieutenants.  Another  version  of  this  incident  at  Cork  was  pub- 
lished many  years  ago,  but,  apart  from  the  details,  it  is  certain 
that  the  ill-advised  remark  of  the  man  who  conveyed  the  rumor 
from  Dublin  might  well  have  resulted  in  bringing  to  naught  the 
plans  for  Stephens'  rescue. 

When  the  night  set  for  the  rescue  arrived,  the  plans  were 
ready  inside  the  prison,  and  the  authorities  had  not  the  faintest 
suspicion  of  anything  wrong.  The  same  police  guard  did  duty,  no 
soldier  was  any  nearer  than  Portobello  Barracks,  and  the  Gover- 
nor retired  as  usual  in  full  serenity  and  without  a  shadow  of 
suspicion.  I  had  reports  from  the  barracks  up  to  a  late  hour  in 
the  evening  and  knew  that  no  movement  either  of  troops  or 
police  indicated  the  taking  of  any  precautionary  measures,  or  the 
existence  of  the  slightest  misgivings  for  the  safety  of  the  caged 
Fenian  Chief.  The  Crown  lawyers  and  the  Sheriff  were  busily 
preparing  for  the  trials,  and  every  partisan  of  British  rule  in 
Ireland  looked  hopefully  forward  to  the  speedy  collapse  of  the 
conspiracy.  A  few  striking  examples  were  to  be  made,  the  pris- 
oners of  lesser  note  were  to  be  let  off  with  short  terms  of  im- 
prisonment, and  panic  and  demoralization  could  be  trusted  to 
do  the  rest.  Ireland  would  relapse  into  the  calm  of  despair,  and 
the  crowbar  brigade  and  the  emigrant  ship  would  soon  effect  a 
final  solution  of  the  Irish  problem.  Dublin  Castle  slept  tranquilly 
that  night,  with  no  warning  of  the  panic  and  consternation  that 
was  to  overtake  it  on  the  morrow. 



Towards  midnight  the  little  squad  of  men  told  off  for  a  body- 
guard dropped  one  by  one  into  Lynch's  public  house  in  Camden 
Street,  a  short  distance  from  the  prison,  where  Ned  Waydick  was 
in  charge,  and  quietly  awaited  the  word  to  move.  But  the  prom- 
ised revolvers  were  not  forthcoming,  and  much  disgust  was  ex- 
pressed. Kearney,  who  had  a  hot  temper,  flew  into  a  violent 
rage,  and  berated  the  leaders  for  their  seeming  neglect.  He  was 
a  born  soldier,  and  expected  soldierly  precision  and  promptitude 
in  such  matters.  "If  they  mismanage  a  little  thing  like  this," 
he  said,  "how  is  it  going  to  be  when  the  real  work  comes?" 

The  fault,  however,  was  not  that  of  Colonel  Kelly,  but  of 
the  man  to  whom  he  assigned  that  duty.  Had  those  selected  for 
the  rescue  any  idea  in  advance  that  the  revolvers  would  not  be 
available  at  the  appointed  time,  they  could  have  supplied  them- 
selves during  the  day.  The  situation  had  to  be  remedied  imme- 
diately, and  at  a  late  hour  that  evening  John  Ryan  and  I  had  to 
hire  an  outside  car  and  apply  to  friends  living  in  different  parts 
of  the  city,  and  by  midnight  all  but  four  of  the  men  had  re- 
volvers. Two  were  brought  to  the  spot  where  Colonel  Kelly  and  a 
few  of  the  men  were  stationed  in  a  field  opposite  the  prison, 
about  an  hour  before  the  escape,  by  Nick  Walsh.  Eleven  men 
only  had  revolvers;  one  had  a  large  knife,  and  a  thirteenth  man 
had  no  weapon  whatever,  and  was  sent  home  early  in  the  night. 
Not  a  man  refused  to  go  to  the  ground,  although  some  were  un- 
armed when  they  started  out.  Yet  they  fully  expected  a  fight 
with  police,  warders  or  soldiers  before  the  work  was  finished. 

The  night  was  dark  and  wet,  and  the  few  policemen  on  duty 
in  the  lonely  neighborhood  of  the  prison  kept  as  much  as  pos- 
sible under  shelter.  A  thorough  search  was  made  of  the  Circular 
Road,  on  which  the  prison  fronts,  Love  Lane,  the  bank  of  the 
Grand  Canal,  which  runs  at  the  rear  of  the  prison,  and  a  little 
lane  running  from  the  Circular  Road  to  Dolly's  Bridge,  which 
crosses  the  canal  close  to  the  prison  grounds.  One  policeman 
was  met  sheltering  himself  under  an  elm  tree  on  the  canal  bank 
and  another  peeped  out  of  a  hallway  on  the  Circular  Road,  near 
Clanbrassil  Street,  but  a  little  conversation  enlivened  by  a  swig 
from  a  flask  of  whiskey,  revealed  the  fact  that  not  a  single  extra 
man  was  out  and  that  nothing  startling  was  expected. 

The  men  arrived  on  the  ground  by  different  routes  in  small 
groups,  and  quietly  took  up  positions  previously  assigned  them. 
Kelly,  Ryan,  Lambert  and  Brophy  were  at  a  point  opposite  the 
prison  wall,  in  a  field  on  the  other  side  of  the  Circular  Road, 
keeping  in  the  shadow  of  a  high  wall  running  diagonally  inward 
from  the  road.  Kearney,  Cody,  Mullen  and  Lawler  were  placed 
under  the  shadow  of  a  hedge  at  the  gate  of  the  same  field,  direct- 



ly  opposite  the  prison  gate.  Harrison,  Duggan  and  O'Neill  were 
in  a  little  dark  nook  at  the  western  end  of  the  prison  wall  be- 
tween the  latter  and  the  wall  of  a  cabbage  garden  that  lay  be- 
tween the  Circular  Road  and  the  canal.  Flood  had  been  sent 
home  because  we  had  no  revolver  for  him.  He  offered  to  stay, 
but  Kelly  wanted  no  man  without  a  weapon.  The  nook  was  partly 
overhung  by  the  branches  of  trees.  My  instructions  were  to  move 
from  post  to  post,  reporting  at  intervals  to  Colonel  Kelly  till 
the  time  fixed  for  the  escape,  when  I  was  to  take  my  place  with 
him.  A  low  mud  wall  separated  the  field  from  the  Circular  Road, 
and  in  a  hole  on  the  inside  of  this  wall  John  Ryan  had,  earlier 
in  the  night,  deposited  a  coil  of  stout  rope  with  knots  arranged 
at  about  every  two  feet  of  its  length,  so  as  to  make  it  easier  for 
Stephens  to  climb  by  when  it  was  flung  over  the  wall. 

Here  the  men  waited  expectantly  in  the  drizzling  rain  for  the 
signal  which  was  to  tell  them  that  Stephens  had  been  let  out  of 
the  prison  and  was  waiting  inside  the  outer  wall  for  the  rope 
to  be  thrown  over.  He  was  to  throw  gravel  over  the  wall  as  a 
signal  that  the  rope  was  wanted,  and  the  "quack,  quack!"  of  a 
duck  repeated  by  Ryan  was  to  announce  that  the  moment  was 
at  hand.  But  there  was  a  genuine  duck  in  a  neighboring  garden 
that  raised  a  false  alarm  once. 

When  the  prison  clock  struck  one  Breslin  left  his  quarters  in 
the  hospital  and  quietly  opened  the  door  leading  to  the  corridor 
where  Stephens'  cell  was  situated.  No  one  else  was  up  but  Byrne, 
and  Stephens  who  was  waiting  in  his  cell  dressed  and  ready  to 
move.  Ascending  the  stairs  noiselessly,  Breslin  opened  the  two 
doors  leading  into  the  corridor  as  quietly  as  he  could,  but  it  was 
impossible  to  do  so  without  making  a  slight  noise.  The  police- 
man on  the  other  side  of  the  door  at  the  other  end  might  hear 
if  he  was  listening,  and  if  McLeod  was  awake,  there  would  be 
trouble.  Stephens  heard  Breslin  turn  the  key  in  the  cell  door. 
He  slid  from  the  hammock  where  he  had  been  lying  dressed.  No 
superfluous  words  were  spoken.  Stephens,  after  receiving  a 
loaded  revolver  from  Breslin,  followed  the  latter  as  noiselessly 
as  possible  out  of  the  corridor  and  down  the  stairs.  Here  an  anx- 
ious pause  of  a  few  moments  was  made.  If  McLeod,  the  jailbird, 
rang  his  gong,  all  was  over;  but  no  sound  came  from  his  cell. 
He  afterwards  explained  his  silence  by  saying  that  the  key 
which  let  Stephens  out  of  his  cell  would  also  open  his,  and  that 
had  he  given  the  alarm  his  throat  would  have  been  cut.  Hear- 
ing no  alarm,  Breslin  opened  the  door  leading  out  into  the  prison 
yard.  Between  this  yard  and  the  Governor's  garden  was  a  very 
high  wall,  which  had  to  be  crossed  before  the  outer  wall  could  be 
reached.  Breslin  had  been  told  by  Byrne  that  the  ladder  used 



in  lighting  the  lamps  in  the  yard  was  long  enough  to  enable  a 
man  to  cross  the  wall,  but  on  making  the  experiment  now  he 
found  that  a  tall  man  standing  on  the  top  rung  of  the  ladder 
could  not  reach  within  several  feet  of  the  top  of  the  wall.  Byrne 
had  not  tried  the  ladder,  as  he  had  promised  to  do.  This  was  a 
serious  hitch.  McLeod  might  have  rung  his  gong  and  alarmed 
the  prison  without  Breslin  being  able  to  hear  it,  and  not  a  mo- 
ment could  be  spared.  After  a  hurried  consultation  he  decided 
to  return  to  the  prison,  and,  with  Byrne's  help,  bring  out  two 
long  tables  from  the  lunatics'  dining  room,  on  which  to  place  the 
ladder.  There  was  an  unoccupied  sentry  box  close  to  where  they 
stood,  and  inside  this  he  placed  Stephens.  For  all  he  knew, 
there  might  be  a  policeman  stationed  in  the  Governor's  garden; 
so,  assuring  Stephens  that  Byrne  and  he  would  take  care  of  any- 
thing between  the  sentry  box  and  the  prison  door,  he  told  him 
to  shoot  any  man  coming  from  the  other  direction. 

The  two  tables  were  carried  out  as  quickly  as  possible,  and 
placed  one  on  top  of  the  other  against  the  wall  at  a  point  where 
Breslin  knew  there  was  a  tool  shed  on  the  other  side,  which 
would  facilitate  the  descent.  The  ladder  was  then  placed  on  the 
upper  table  and  held  by  Byrne  and  Breslin,  while  Stephens 

As  Stephens  stepped  on  the  ladder  he  turned  round  and 
handed  Breslin  the  revolver.  This  left  an  unfavorable  impres- 
sion on  Breslin  which  nothing  could  efface.  If  there  should  be  a 
policeman  in  the  Governor's  garden  he  could  easily  stop  the  fur- 
ther progress  of  the  fugitive,  and  the  men  outside  the  wall  could 
do  nothing  to  aid  him.  Stephens  climbed  up  the  ladder,  and, 
although  there  was  some  glass  on  the  top  of  the  wall,  easily  got 
over  it,  and  dropped  down  to  a  shed  on  the  other  side  and  thence 
to  the  ground.  He  walked  over  to  a  pear  tree  indicated  by  Bres- 
lin, which  grew  close  to  the  outer  wall,  and  which  would  aid  him 
in  climbing  it.  Hearing  no  footsteps  outside,  he  took  a  handful 
of  gravel  and  flung  it  on  to  the  Circular  Road. 

This  signal  was  at  once  recognized.  It  was  only  the  work  of 
a  minute  for  the  little  party  with  Kelly  to  cross  the  road  and 
fling  one  end  of  the  rope  over  the  wall.  Four  of  us  held  it,  and 
in  a  second  there  was  a  strong  tug  at  the  other  end  of  the 
rope  and  we  felt  him  struggling  upward,  till  at  last  we  saw  his 
head  and  shoulders  at  the  top  of  the  wall,  which  was  about 
eighteen  feet  high.  The  whole  party,  as  well  as  I  can  remember, 
had  by  this  time  rushed  to  the  spot,  and  "The  Captain"  was 
greeted  good-naturedly,  but  in  subdued  tones.  He  peered  down 
as  if  gauging  the  distance  to  the  ground,  and  was  quite  out  of 
breath.    After  he  had  vainly  tried  to  hitch  the  rope  between 



two  stones  on  the  top  of  the  wall  so  that  he  might  use  it  in 
descending,  John  Ryan  told  him  to  drop  down  with  his  back  to 
the  wall,  and  we  would  catch  him.  He  did  so  and  Ryan  caught 
his  feet  on  his  chest,  the  sand  on  the  soles  leaving  the  imprint 
of  the  shoes  on  Ryan's  buttoned  coat.  It  staggered  Ryan,  and 
as  Stephens  was  coming  down  I  caught  him  about  the  knees  and 
let  him  slide  to  the  ground.  I  felt  him  tremble  as  I  let  him 
down,  a  fact  probably  caused  as  much  by  his  physical  exertion 
as  by  the  reaction  to  the  nerve-wracking  strain  of  his  enforced 
wait  in  the  sentry  box  in  the  inner  yard.  At  all  events,  it  gave 
the  first  shock  to  the  belief  I  had  previously  entertained  in  his 
coolness  and  self-possession. 

Stephens  and  Kelly  at  once  crossed  the  Circular  Road  and 
turned  into  Love  Lane,  a  long  winding  street,  running  through 
market  gardens  and  having  few  houses.  From  Love  Lane  they 
turned  into  Brown  Street.  In  this  street  was  the  house  where  the 
C.  O.  I.  R.  was  to  be  concealed.  Mrs.  Boland,  a  sister  of  James 
O'Connor,  later  Member  of  Parliament  for  West  Wicklow,  had 
undertaken  to  shelter  him,  and  John  O'Connor,  her  brother,  then 
a  bright  boy  of  fifteen,  who  had  acted  as  messenger  between 
Kelly  and  Stephens  before  his  arrest,  was  on  the  lookout.  Here 
he  remained  in  safety,  and  ever  afterwards  we  used  to  call  Mrs. 
Boland  "the  best  man  of  the  O'Connor  family".  She  was  one  of 
the  most  devoted  of  the  many  good  women  of  the  Fenian  move- 

I  had  been  ordered  by  Kelly  to  see  that  anything  that  might 
give  a  clue  to  the  nature  of  the  escape  should  be  removed  from 
outside  the  wall.  The  only  thing  of  that  kind  was  the  rope,  and 
I  found  unexpected  difficulty  with  that.  Every  man  present 
wanted  to  get  a  piece  of  it,  and  a  few  succeeded. 

We  started  off  in  small  groups,  and  the  state  of  elation  in 
which  the  men  all  were  was  indicated  by  a  remark  by  John 
Ryan,  who  was  walking  with  me.  "John,"  he  said,  "we  have 
tonight  witnessed  the  greatest  event  in  history."  "Well,"  I  re- 
plied, "I  suppose  it  is  the  greatest  in  our  little  movement  up  to 
the  present,  but  I  hope  we'll  best  it  soon." 

As  we  got  to  a  point  on  the  Circular  Road  opposite  the  prison 
gate  we  heard  the  loud  bang  of  a  door,  and  we  thought  the  alarm 
must  have  been  given  and  expected  momentarily  to  see  the  gate 
open  and  the  policemen  rush  out.  Lest  such  event  might  result 
in  the  recapture  of  Stephens,  the  men  all  ran  up,  every  man 
pulled  his  revolver,  and  we  waited  expectantly,  but  there  was  not 
another  sound  or  a  sign.  We  then  separated  and  went  our 
various  ways.  Breslin  and  Byrne  said  later  that  they  had  neither 



banged  a  door  nor  heard  any  noise,  but  twelve  of  us  outside  heard 
it  so  distinctly  that  there  could  be  no  mistake  about  it. 

A  few  minutes  later  I  learned  how  much  the  matter  had 
become  practically  public  property.  As  Ryan  and  I  turned  into 
Camden  Street  he  said  to  me,  "I  promised  Sam  Clampett  that  I 
would  call  and  let  him  know  the  thing  has  come  off  all  right. 
He  lives  just  here."  I  knew  Sam,  who  was  a  Protestant  and  a 
member  of  James  O'Connor's  Circle.  He  was  a  bright,  handsome 
little  fellow.  Sure  enough,  his  wife  and  he  were  waiting  up  to 
hear  the  news.  She  too  was,  of  course,  a  Protestant,  and  a  great 
Fenian.  They  welcomed  us  effusively  and  a  bottle  of  whiskey 
was  produced.  The  three  men  drank  "The  Captain's"  health  in 
a  bumper.  Ryan  and  I  were  wet  from  long  exposure  to  the 
drizzle  and  the  draught  was  timely. 

Breslin  left  the  tables  and  the  ladder  as  they  stood  when 
Stephens  crossed  the  inner  wall,  and  the  false  keys  in  the  door, 
so  that  there  might  be  no  mistake  about  the  manner  of  the 
escape,  and  returned  to  his  room  in  the  hospital,  which  he 
reached  a  little  after  2  o'clock.  He  wore  a  pair  of  patent  leather 
shoes,  so  that  his  ordinary  ones  might  not  be  soiled,  and  after 
carefully  wiping  the  sand  and  dust  from  them  he  put  them 
away,  and  brushing  his  clothes,  got  into  bed  and  pretended  to 
be  "fast  asleep"  immediately.  Byrne  continued  to  make  his  usual 
rounds,  but  not  until  4  o'clock  did  he  raise  the  alarm  and  report 
finding  the  tables  and  ladder  against  the  prison  wall. 

A  scene  of  wild  confusion  ensued.  The  whole  prison  staff  was 
aroused,  and  every  nook  and  corner  of  the  building  and  the 
grounds  was  searched  for  the  fugitive.  The  Castle  authorities 
were  at  once  notified,  and  in  a  few  hours  the  police  were  scouring 
the  city,  searching  houses  and  watching  trains  and  outgoing 
vessels  of  all  kinds.  The  garrison  was  placed  under  arms.  Simi- 
lar precautions  were  taken  elsewhere  and  an  utter  panic  pre- 
vailed among  the  Loyalists.  Landlords  and  magistrates  were 
paralyzed  with  dismay,  and  fully  expected  the  outbreak  of  a 
formidable  insurrection. 

I  stopped  that  morning  at  the  house  of  my  aunt  in  Mabbot 
Street.  Her  husband,  William  Delaney,  was  in  the  building  busi- 
ness in  a  small  way,  and  the  yard,  which  was  full  of  building 
material,  had  a  door  opening  on  a  lane  which  ran  into  Talbot 
Street.  I  had  the  key  of  this  door  buried  in  sand  so  that  I  could 
reach  it  from  the  outside  and  the  back  door  of  the  house  had 
been  left  open  for  me.  Here  I  had  arranged  that  O'Neill  should 
also  sleep  that  morning  and  he  was  waiting  for  me  in  the  lane 
when  I  got  over.  Thinking  that  we  might  have  been  followed, 
he  insisted  on  sleeping  in  his  clothes,  and  he  presented  a  curious 



spectacle  as  he  slept.  He  had  a  portion  of  the  rope  coiled  around 
his  body  and  four  loaded  revolvers — he  had  collected  three  be- 
sides his  own — in  his  belt.  I  had  two  others,  but,  though  I 
slept  in  my  clothes,  I  kept  the  firearms  within  reach. 

We  were  anxious  to  learn  how  the  people  felt  about  the  news, 
so  we  were  up  early,  got  the  papers,  reported  for  orders  to  Colonel 
Kelly,  returned  the  borrowed  revolvers  and  visited  several  places 
frequented  by  our  men.  We  found  them  all  in  high  spirits  and 
everyone  talking  of  the  event.  At  Lynch's  in  Camden  Street,  the 
place  we  had  started  from,  there  was  a  large  party  of  our  friends 
and  several  men  who  were  not  Fenians,  but  all  were  equally 

Had  Stephens  been  ready  to  give  the  word  then  he  could 
have  got  five  followers  for  the  one  that  would  have  answered  his 
call  at  any  previous  time. 

The  people  were  wild  with  delight.  Men  who  had  till  then 
looked  with  open  hostility  or  cold  indifference  on  Fenianism  were 
seized  with  a  sudden  enthusiasm.  They  shook  hands  with  their 
Fenian  acquaintances  in  the  streets,  and  congratulated  them  on 
the  victory.  It  was  the  one  proud  day  of  the  Fenian  movement. 
The  Government  had  been  beaten  in  their  own  stronghold,  and 
not  a  man  ever  suffered  the  loss  of  a  hair. 

Byrne  was  arrested  next  day  and  committed  for  trial,  but 
two  successive  juries  disagreed,  and  he  was  finally  released  and 
allowed  to  leave  the  country.  Not  a  shadow  of  suspicion  rested 
on  Breslin,  and  he  remained  at  his  post  for  a  whole  year,  when, 
finding  that  he  was  likely  to  be  arrested,  he  quietly  slipped  on 
board  the  Holyhead  boat  at  "Kingstown",  and  was  in  Paris  the 
following  night.  Neither  Breslin  nor  Byrne  contracted  for  or 
ever  received  a  single  penny  for  the  work.  It  was  a  labor  of  love. 



"The  Year  of  Action"  Passed  Without  a  Rising,  Contrary  to 
Advice  of  the  American  Officers — Centres  Called  into  Con- 
sultation Not  to  Make  a  Decision  but  to  Acquiesce  in  the 
Postponement  Already  Determined  on  by  Stephens — Split 
in  the  American  Fenian  Brotherhood  a  Big  Factor. 

The  trials  of  the  prisoners  first  arrested — O'Leary,  Luby, 
Kickham,  O'Donovan  Rossa,  Mulcahy,  Roantree,  O'Connor  and 
others  in  Dublin,  and  Kenealy,  Keane  and  their  fellows  in  Cork 
(September,  1865,  to  January  1866) — by  which  the  English  Gov- 
ernment hoped  to  intimidate  the  Fenians,  had  the  very  opposite 
effect.  They  put  the  men  on  their  mettle,  stimulated  recruiting 
and  aroused  the  sympathy  of  the  people.  Thousands  of  new 
members  were  sworn  in,  many  of  them  belonging  to  the  com- 
mercial and  professional  classes,  who  had  hitherto  held  aloof, 
and  large  masses  of  men  who  had  not  been  reached  by  our  work- 
ers were  favorably  influenced  by  the  public  propaganda.  It  is 
always  so  in  Ireland  when  England  undertakes  coercive  measures. 
Repression  is  the  best  possible  stimulant  for  Irish  Nationalism. 

It  was  the  same  with  the  soldiers  as  with  the  people.  The 
reports  of  the  trials  filled  the  newspapers  and  were  the  chief 
topic  of  conversation  everywhere,  including  the  barrooms  visited 
by  soldiers,  and  the  swearing  in  of  new  members  went  on  more 
briskly  than  at  any  previous  time.  The  military  organizers  were 
kept  busy.  It  was  only  during  January  that  the  military  authori- 
ties seemed  to  awake  to  the  fact  that  there  was  a  formidable 
Fenian  organization  in  the  ranks  of  the  army.  One  infantry 
Colonel  seemed  to  guess  it  all  along,  but  he  made  a  joke  of  it. 
He  was  an  Irishman  who  had  been  shabbily  treated  by  the  heads 
of  the  army  and  undoubtedly  had  a  grievance.  The  story  told 
by  the  men  of  his  regiment  was  that  during  the  great  Mutiny  in 
India,  when  all  the  superior  officers  of  his  regiment  had  been 
killed  or  wounded,  he  had  not  alone  led  it  during  a  hard  cam- 
paign, but  had  commanded  a  large  body  of  native  troops  as  well. 
At  the  end  of  the  Mutiny,  they  stated,  when  the  regiment  was 
ordered  home,  he  fell  sick  and  it  was  taken  to  England  by  an  offi- 
cer of  lower  rank,  a  man  of  no  ability,  who  belonged  to  an  influ- 
ential, aristocratic  family.  They  said  it  was  a  custom  in  the  army 
that  the  man  who  took  a  regiment  home  from  India  was  always 




promoted,  so  the  aristocratic  nincompoop  was  made  a  General 
and  the  man  who  had  rendered  brilliant  service  at  a  critical  time 
was  still  only  a  Colonel  in  1865,  and  very  much  disgruntled. 

I  had  no  means  of  verifying  this  story,  but  the  men  of  the 
regiment  all  believed  it  and  found  confirmation  of  his  supposed 
sympathy  with  Fenianism  in  his  treatment  of  men  brought  be- 
fore him  for  being  absent  from  roll-call  or  other  similar  delin- 
quencies. "Ha!  What  brings  you  here?  I  suppose  you  were 
out  with  the  boys  last  night,"  they  represented  him  as  saying,  in 
a  bantering  tone.  "Get  to  hell  out  of  here  and  don't  be  brought 
up  before  me  again." 

The  Colonel's  brother  was  a  well  known  parish  priest  in  Wick- 
low,  and  was  very  patriotic.  The  Centre  of  the  regiment,  an  ex- 
ceptionally intelligent  man,  was  quite  confident  that  if  we  made 
a  good  showing  when  the  fight  came,  his  Colonel  would  come  over. 
None  of  his  regiment  would  be  left  anyhow,  for  they  were  Fenians 
almost  to  a  man. 

There  was  a  similar  belief  about  a  Captain  of  the  Fourth 
Dragoon  Guards  and  a  Lieutenant  of  the  Eighteenth  Royal 
Irish,  but  I  knew  no  more  about  them  than  I  did  of  the  Colonel. 
Stephens  claimed  to  have  sworn  in  six  commissioned  officers  of 
the  army,  but  he  never  named  them,  even  to  O'Leary,  Luby  or 
Kickham,  as  they  told  me  later,  and  the  matter  remained  a 
mystery  to  the  end. 

The  English  Government  became  more  active  early  in  1866; 
arrests  on  suspicion  became  more  frequent,  and  at  last  on  Febru- 
ary 17,  the  Habeas  Corpus  Act  was  suspended.  Dublin  Castle  did 
not  wait  for  the  formal  suspension,  but  commenced  to  make  ar- 
rests by  wholesale  as  soon  as  the  Bill  was  introduced  in  Parlia- 
ment. The  O'Donoghue,  a  grand-nephew  of  Daniel  O'Connell, 
made  a  rather  good  speech  against  it,  and  John  Bright  made 
another,  but  no  obstructive  tactics  were  used.  The  Bill  was 
passed  in  both  houses  on  the  same  day  it  was  introduced,  and 
signed  by  Queen  Victoria  that  evening.  The  purpose  of  the  Gov- 
ernment was  evidently  to  arrest  as  many  men  as  possible  before 
they  had  time  to  seek  places  of  safety,  so  the  whole  police  force 
was  put  on  the  job  and  worked  overtime,  both  in  Dublin  and  the 
Provinces.  Several  hundred  prisoners  had  been  gathered  in 
by  the  time  the  proclamation  announcing  the  suspension  was 
published  on  Sunday,  February  18. 

Up  to  the  end  of  1865,  every  man  had  worked  in  the  belief  that 
the  fight  would  come  off  that  year.  Stephens  had  made  the  an- 
nouncement in  1864,  on  his  return  from  America,  and  he  had 
repeated  it  many  times  in  1865.    "This  year — and  let  there  be 



no  mistake  about  it — will  be  the  year  of  action,"  he  wrote  in  a 
letter  which  was  captured  and  read  at  the  trials  of  the  prison- 
ers first  arrested.  And  he  kept  it  up  to  the  very  end  of  the  year. 
Then,  when  the  men  were  keyed  up  to  the  highest  pitch  of  en- 
thusiasm and  expectancy  there  came  a  sudden  change.  The  fight 
was  postponed,  but,  although  Stephens  was  entirely  responsible 
for  it,  he  adroitly  placed  the  responsibility  on  other  shoulders. 

He  was  certainly  in  a  most  difficult  position,  not  so  much  on 
account  of  the  action  of  the  British  Government  and  the  arrest 
of  his  chief  lieutenants  as  because  of  the  Split  in  the  American 
organization  which  came  at  the  height  of  the  crisis  in  Ireland. 
The  Split  was  beyond  all  doubt  the  chief  cause  of  the  failure 
of  Fenianism  in  Ireland,  but  it  would  not  necessarily  have  had 
that  effect  if  Stephens  had  been  a  more  resourceful  man,  cap- 
able of  making  proper  use  of  the  means  at  his  command  in  Ire- 
land. The  Split  delivered  a  large  part  of  the  resources  originally 
intended  to  arm  the  men  in  Ireland  to  the  project  of  invading 
Canada;  it  cut  off  the  supply  of  American  officers  and  left  the 
work  of  supporting  the  Home  Organization  in  the  hands  of  that 
portion  of  the  American  body  which  was  least  efficient  and 
capable.  Its  moral  effect  on  Stephens  was  very  bad  and  it  made 
him  commit  the  worst  blunder  of  his  whole  career.  Overrating 
his  popularity  in  America,  and  throwing  all  prudence  to  the 
winds,  he  wrote  a  letter  to  O'Mahony,  which  he  evidently  ex- 
pected would  leave  the  Head  Centre's  opponents  without  a  fol- 
lowing, but  which  had  the  very  opposite  effect.  It  widened  the 
breach  and  made  it  irreparable.  The  prompt  publishing  of  the 
letter  by  O'Mahony  rendered  it  morally  impossible  for  the  Sen- 
ate wing  of  the  American  movement  to  support  the  Home  Or- 
ganization so  long  as  Stephens  remained  its  leader. 

"Lash  them  from  you  like  so  many  dogs",  he  wrote  to  John 
O'Mahony,  forgetting  that  a  gross  personal  affront  is  never  really 
forgiven  by  men  of  spirit  anywhere  and  least  of  all  by  Irishmen. 
What  had  been  only  a  difference  over  O'Mahony's  management 
of  the  movement  in  America  and  a  contest  for  control  was  at 
once  turned  into  a  bitter  personal  quarrel,  and  all  hope  of  union 
among  American  Irishmen  for  the  overthrow  of  British  rule  in 
Ireland  was  gone.  It  was  a  fair  test  of  Stephens'  capacity  for 
leadership — the  first  real  test — and  it  found  him  wanting.  He 
probably  wrote  the  letter  in  the  first  flush  of  anger  over  the  news 
of  the  Split,  without  giving  himself  time  to  think  of  the  conse- 
quences. He  had  been  depending  entirely  on  America  for  a  sup- 
ply of  arms,  ignoring  the  fact  that  there  were  over  100,000  British 
rifles  in  Ireland,  stored  in  four  different  depots,  the  capture  of 
one  of  which  would  be  quite  easy  for  a  small  body  of  trained  men, 



properly  armed  and  led,  and  that  the  fall  of  two  out  of  the  other 
three  would  almost  certainly  follow. 

Stephens'  disappointment  over  the  failure  of  his  ill-consid- 
ered effort  to  end  the  Split  undoubtedly  depressed  him,  upset 
all  his  plans  and  paralyzed  his  energies.  Less  than  half  a  dozen 
men  saw  him  at  any  time  during  the  month  following  his  escape 
from  prison  in  November  and  we  had  no  means  of  knowing  how 
he  felt.  Colonel  Kelly,  his  Chief  of  Staff,  was  a  man  of  untiring 
energy,  full  of  optimism  and  of  a  buoyant  spirit,  and  our  orders 
were  received  from  him.  He  saw  or  heard  from  Stephens  every 
day,  and  if  he  knew  that  the  Chief  Organizer  had  lost  heart  he 
gave  no  hint  of  it.  Up  to  the  last  week  in  December  Kelly's  orders 
all  indicated  a  fight  at  an  early  day.  We  were  to  "keep  the  steam 
up" — that  was  his  phrase — and  have  our  men  ready  for  action  at 
a  moment's  notice.  Then  suddenly  he  announced  that  "The 
Captain"  wanted  to  see  the  Dublin  Centres,  and  we  naturally 
thought  it  was  for  the  purpose  of  issuing  final  orders  for  the 

It  was  not  to  be  a  meeting,  but  the  men  were  to  be  brought  to 
Kelly's  lodgings  in  Grantham  Street  in  groups  of  not  more  than 
two  or  three,  each  group  retiring  as  soon  as  "The  Captain's" 
business  with  them  was  transacted,  to  make  room  for  another. 
It  was  explained  that  this  method  was  adopted  to  avoid  attract- 
ing attention,  but  I  soon  made  up  my  mind  that  it  had  another 
object — to  prevent  the  possibility  of  discussion  and  a  vote.  The 
hour  fixed  for  the  first  batch  to  arrive  was  about  8  o'clock  in 
the  evening  and  each  group  was  timed  so  that  there  would  be 
very  little  chance  of  many  men  being  there  together.  There  was 
naturally  some  over-lapping,  some  of  the  squads  arriving  while 
those  who  preceded  them  were  still  in  the  room,  but  the  whole 
proceeding  went  off  without  a  hitch  until  nearly  all  the  men  had 
been  seen.   But  all  were  not  seen. 

Along  with  Stephens  were  the  members  of  the  Military  Council, 
except  General  Millen,  who  had  been  ordered  to  America.  They 
were  Colonel  Michael  Kerwin,  Colonel  William  G.  Halpin,  Colonel 
Denis  F.  Burke,  Colonel  Thomas  J.  Kelly,  and  Captain  Doherty 
whose  initials  I  have  forgotten.  The  procedure,  I  learned  from 
some  of  the  men  after  they  had  come  out,  was  this: 

Stephens  explained  that  he  had  been  disappointed  in  his 
expectations  from  America.  The  Split  had  interrupted  the  supply 
of  money  on  which  he  depended  to  obtain  sufficient  arms.  He 
had  sent  messages  to  America  which  he  hoped  would  result  in 
bringing  about  better  conditions,  and  a  delay  of  three  weeks  or  a 
month  would  be  necessary.  If  at  the  end  of  that  time  things  in 
America  did  not  turn  out  all  right,  the  fight  would  come  off  with- 



out  American  help.  What  he  wanted  to  know  from  each  Centre 
was,  could  he  hold  his  men  together  for  three  or  four  weeks  and 
keep  them  in  condition  to  fight  at  the  end  of  that  time? 

His  description  of  the  situation  suggested  the  answer  to  the 
question,  and  the  tone  in  which  he  spoke  made  the  question  an 
appeal.  It  was  practically  a  request  for  approval  of  something 
he  had  already  decided  upon.  He  had  never  done  anything  like 
this  before  with  the  Centres;  he  had  always  issued  orders,  but 
never  in  a  peremptory  way.  His  reference  to  the  difficulties 
created  by  the  Split  in  America  had  a  strong  effect  on  most  of 
the  men  and  his  promise  to  fight  without  American  help,  if 
necessary,  stirred  their  fighting  spirit.  So  they  all  gave  him  the 
promise  he  asked,  but  some  of  them  with  evident  reluctance. 
Matthew  O'Neill  looked  very  much  disgusted  when  the  question 
was  put  to  him  and  answered  in  a  sulky  tone:  "I  suppose  I 

Stephens  asked  him  what  he  meant  and  O'Neill  replied:  "Be- 
cause I  know  you  wouldn't  ask  me  if  you  hadn't  already  made 
up  your  mind  and  intended  to  make  me." 

Stephens  was  a  little  disconcerted  at  this,  but  assured  O'Neill 
that  he  need  not  have  any  fear  on  account  of  the  short  postpone- 
ment; the  fight  would  come  off  all  right. 

But  the  American  officers  present  did  not  share  his  optimism; 
they  knew  conditions  in  the  United  States  too  well  to  justify 
them  in  expecting  any  favorable  result  from  Stephens'  efforts 
to  heal  the  breach  between  the  two  warring  factions.  They  knew 
exactly  what  could  be  done  in  Ireland  and  did  not  believe  that 
conditions  would  be  improved  by  a  delay  of  three  or  four  weeks. 
Arrests  of  men  in  various  parts  of  the  country  were  on  the  in- 
crease and  might  be  expected  to  take  place  on  a  much  larger 
scale  as  time  went  on.  All  the  American  officers  then  in  Ireland 
or  England — over  150 — were  still  at  large,  but  could  not  expect 
immunity  from  arrest  to  continue  much  longer.  A  few  officers 
had  been  already  called  back  to  America  by  the  opponents  of 
O'Mahony  and  had  obeyed  the  summons.  The  hope  of  a  success- 
ful fight  depended  on  the  men  being  led  by  competent  officers, 
and  there  were  nearly  as  many  in  Ireland  then  as  Owen  Roe 
O'Neill  had  brought  from  Spain  to  lead  the  fight  against  Monroe 
and  Cromwell.  The  disaffected  regiments  were  still  in  Ireland 
and  not  a  single  Fenian  soldier  had  been  arrested.  Among  them 
were  many  very  intelligent  sergeants  who  were  fit  for  officers, 
and  8,000  red-coated  Fenians  would  form  a  fine  backbone  for  an 
insurgent  Irish  army.  And  there  were  thousands  of  other  un- 
sworn Irishmen  in  the  English  garrisons  throughout  Ireland 
whose  sympathy  could,  for  the  most  part,  be  relied  on.  There 



were  not  enough  of  arms,  but  the  supply  would  be  likely  to 
diminish,  rather  than  increase,  with  the  delay,  as  seizures  were 
beginning  to  be  made.  There  were  certainly  enough  on  hand 
to  capture  one  of  the  Government  arsenals. 

This  situation  was  put  plainly  before  Stephens  by  the  Ameri- 
can officers  that  evening  before  any  of  the  Centres  had  arrived, 
but  a  few  of  the  latter  got  in  while  the  discussion  was  going  on 
and  heard  Kerwin  and  Halpin  plead  earnestly  with  Stephens  for 
an  immediate  fight.  Colonel  Kerwin,  who  was  evidently  very 
much  worked  up,  assured  him  that  the  Military  Council  would 
take  full  responsibility  for  the  decision  and  pleaded  earnestly 
with  Stephens  against  any  postponement.  Stephens  listened 
with  apparent  deference  to  what  the  officers  had  to  say,  but  did 
not  indicate  whether  he  would  accede  to  their  wishes  or  not, 
merely  saying  that  the  men  themselves  would  decide.  Of  course, 
the  men  did  not  decide  anything;  they  merely  did  what  Stephens 
asked  them  to  do.  The  military  officers  remained  during  the 
interviews  between  Stephens  and  the  groups  of  Centres,  but  did 
not  interfere  in  the  talk  after  they  had  made  their  plea. 

I  had  been  assigned  to  guard  duty  that  night  by  Colonel  Kelly. 
My  orders  were  to  select  a  few  men,  not  more  than  five,  who 
could  be  absolutely  relied  on  to  protect  the  house  from  intrusion 
and  "The  Captain"  from  arrest.  I  selected  five  men  all  of  whom 
were  well  fitted  for  the  work  and  all  were  armed  with  good 
American  revolvers.  I  stationed  them  at  various  points  around 
the  block  in  which  the  house  was  situated,  within  supporting 
distance  of  each  other,  and  I  took  up  my  post  near  the  house. 
Kelly  instructed  me  to  walk  past  from  time  to  time  and  give 
signals  which  he  would  hear  inside.  If  everything  was  all  right 
I  was  to  rattle  once  on  the  railings  in  front  of  the  house  with  my 
stick;  if  there  was  anything  suspicious  I  was  to  rattle  twice  as 
a  warning,  and  if  there  was  danger  I  was  to  do  it  three  times 
very  loudly  and  call  up  my  men  to  see  that  "the  Old  Man"  (as 
Stephens  was  called  by  some)  got  off  safe.  I  was  to  be  the  last 
man  brought  in  to  see  him  and  was  to  speak  for  the  soldiers. 

We  had  a  man  named  Michael  Graham,  an  ex-letter  carrier, 
who  was  the  organization's  detective,  and  he  knew  every  member 
of  the  "G"  Division  in  Dublin,  all  the  Police  Inspectors  and  most 
of  the  sergeants.  Mick,  as  we  all  called  him,  was  a  splendid 
sleuth,  and  he  was  also  on  duty  in  that  capacity  that  night. 

As  Edmund  O'Donovan,  son  of  the  great  Gaelic  scholar,  came 
up  towards  the  house  after  9  o'clock,  he  informed  me  that  he  had 
noticed  two  men  whom  he  believed  to  be  detectives  lounging 
around  the  corner  of  a  neighboring  street.  He  was  not  sure  they 



were  after  us,  but  suggested  that  it  would  be  well  to  take  pre- 
cautions. I  immediately  sent  Graham  to  take  a  look  at  the  de- 
tectives, gave  the  two  rattles  on  the  railing  as  a  warning,  gathered 
my  men  in  the  immediate  vicinity  of  the  house,  left  them  on 
guard,  and  with  O'Donovan  proceeded  towards  the  place  where 
the  suspects  were.  When  we  reached  the  next  corner  to  the  west- 
ward we  met  Graham  coming  back  and  he  assured  us  there 
was  no  danger.  The  two  detectives  were  well  known  to  him  and 
they  were  assigned  to  purely  civic  duties  in  the  neighborhood. 

O'Donovan  went  into  the  house,  explained  the  situation  out- 
side, and  assured  Stephens  that  there  was  no  danger.  He  found 
"The  Captain"  with  his  overcoat  on,  all  ready  to  go,  and  without 
waiting  to  hear  what  the  young  Centre  for  Trinity  College  had  to 
say  on  the  question  of  postponement,  or  waiting  to  see  a  few 
others  who  had  not  yet  arrived,  he  took  his  departure,  accom- 
panied by  Kelly.  He  was  really  in  no  more  danger  there  than 
at  any  hour  of  the  twenty-four  anywhere  else,  but  he  made  up 
his  mind  to  take  no  chances  and  broke  up  the  consultation 
before  it  was  finished.  He  had  been  but  a  few  weeks  out  of 
prison  and  the  thought  of  being  incarcerated  again  made  him 
very  careful. 

But  there  was  unquestionably  another  consideration  which 
outweighed  everything  else  with  Stephens.  There  was  never  any 
question  in  the  minds  of  those  who  knew  him  best  that  he  be- 
lieved he  was  absolutely  necessary  to  the  success  of  the  move- 
ment; that  his  permanent  removal  would  surely  bring  failure, 
and  that,  therefore,  he  was  acting  in  the  best  interests  of  the 
cause  by  taking  every  precaution  against  the  possibility  of  arrest. 
I  have  never  met  a  man  in  all  my  life  who  believed  so  thoroughly 
in  himself,  or  who  so  confidently  took  it  for  granted  that  others 
shared  that  belief.  It  was  an  obsession  with  him.  And,  like  all 
such  men,  his  overweening  confidence  in  himself  and  his  constant 
self-assertion  made  a  deep  impression  on  nearly  all  those  asso- 
ciated with  him.  The  wonderful  work  he  had  done  in  building  up 
a  magnificent  organization  while  the  failure  of  the  Young  Ireland 
movement,  the  horror  of  the  great  Famine  and  the  betrayal  of 
the  Tenant  League  by  Sadleir  and  Keogh,  were  still  fresh  in  the 
people's  minds  and  apathy  and  depression  reigned  everywhere, 
seemed  in  a  measure  to  justify  this.  He  had  created  the  organi- 
zation, made  it  what  it  was,  put  the  impress  of  his  own  person- 
ality upon  it  and  given  it  its  defects,  as  well  as  its  good  qualities. 
Its  chief  defect,  and  the  one  that  in  the  end  proved  disastrous, 
was  that  Stephens  was  the  sole  arbiter  in  deciding  the  course 
which  it  should  pursue.  This  situation  he  had  deliberately  cre- 
ated, in  the  full  belief  that  he  was  doing  the  best  for  Ireland. 



There  was  nobody  in  existence  entitled  to  take  the  place  of 
Stephens,  to  share  authority  with  him  in  arriving  at  important 
decisions,  or  to  offer  him  advice,  after  the  arrest  of  O'Leary, 
Luby  and  Kickham,  whom  he  had  constituted  a  sort  of  execu- 
tive council.  Every  officer  in  the  organization  derived  his  author- 
ity from  the  C.  O.  I.  R.  The  organization  began  at  the  top  and 
was  the  most  completely  despotic  system  in  the  world.  There 
was  no  intermediate  authority  between  Stephens  and  the  hun- 
dreds of  Centres  whom  he  had  appointed,  and  on  his  removal 
they  became  a  set  of  disjointed  units,  with  no  provision  made 
for  replacing  the  central  authority. 

There  was,  however,  a  very  general  understanding  that  the 
Centres  represented  their  men,  had  authority  to  speak  for  them, 
and  that  when  they  spoke,  the  Chief  Executive  should  respect 
their  wishes. 

After  he  had  consulted  the  Dublin  Centres  in  the  imperfect 
manner  above  described,  he  did  the  same  with  the  country 
Centres,  or  as  many  of  them  as  he  could  get  up  to  Dublin  at 
short  notice.  There  was  no  means  of  ascertaining  whether  all 
of  them  were  notified  or  not,  but  it  is  very  probable  they  were. 
The  number  who  responded  was  very  large;  probably  they  were  a 
majority.  But  all  of  them  certainly  accepted  the  result  when 
notified  of  it,  as  they  all  undoubtedly  were,  within  a  few  days. 

The  plan  followed  with  the  country  Centres  was  the  same  as 
in  the  case  of  the  Dublin  men,  except  that  it  began  earlier  in  the 
day.  I  heard  of  it  at  the  time  from  some  of  those  present,  and 
later  in  America.  The  men  were  brought  in  small  groups  to  the 
City  Mansion  Hotel  in  Bridge  Street,  where  they  met  Stephens 
and  Kelly  in  one  of  the  rooms.  There  were  often  three  or  four 
groups  present  at  the  same  time,  but  they  kept  coming  and 
going,  as  at  Kelly's  in  Grantham  Street.  There  was  no  discus- 
sion, but  a  good  deal  more  general  talk  than  at  the  other  gath- 
ering, because  most  of  the  men  had  not  seen  Stephens  for  a 
long  time,  and  some  of  them  had  never  met  him  before.  He  put 
the  same  question  to  the  men  that  he  had  asked  in  Grantham 
Street,  but  added  that  the  Dublin  Centres  had  already  agreed 
to  do  what  he  asked.  Thus  reinforced,  somewhat  unfairly,  he 
had  no  difficulty  in  getting  all  the  country  Centres  to  do  what 
he  wanted,  and  they  returned  to  their  homes  delighted  at  their 
experience.  They  had  met,  almost  under  the  very  windows  of 
Dublin  Castle,  the  man  who  had  been  rescued  from  the  clutches 
of  the  British  Government  after  he  had  defied  it  in  the  dock, 
and  who,  in  spite  of  the  utmost  efforts  of  its  officials  and  the 
offer  of  a  big  reward  for  his  capture,  still  remained  in  Dublin  to 



give  the  signal  for  an  uprising.  When  they  got  home  they  spread 
the  news  and  it  inspired  confidence  among  their  men. 

Thus  was  secured  the  first  postponement  of  the  fight  that  was 
to  have  taken  place  in  1865.  While  there  were  undoubtedly  im- 
portant political  considerations  involved,  the  chief  question  was 
most  certainly  a  military  one,  and  it  was  decided  by  a  civilian 
against  the  judgment  and  advice  of  his  military  advisers.  For  it 
was  certainly  Stephens  who  decided  it.  Had  all  the  Centres  been 
present  at  the  same  time,  a  discussion  could  not  have  been 
avoided  and  probably  a  vote  would  have  been  taken.  Consider- 
ing the  confident  spirit  then  prevailing,  I  think  it  would  have  put 
Stephens'  persuasive  powers  to  a  severe  test — and  he  was  not  an 
orator — to  prevent  a  vote  in  favor  of  fighting  at  once. 

In  1797,  civilians  decided  a  military  question,  but  in  the  case 
of  the  United  Irishmen  the  men  who  made  the  decision  were 
civilians  of  first-class  ability,  while  the  military  men  whose  offer 
to  deliver  up  Dublin  Castle  they  rejected  were  only  sergeants  of 
militia.  In  the  case  of  Stephens  it  was  one  man  who  had  re- 
ceived no  military  training  whatever  who  overrode  the  judgment 
of  five  soldiers  who,  it  is  true,  had  not  received  a  scientific  mili- 
tary education,  but  had  seen  hard  service  for  four  years  and  as 
commissioned  officers  in  one  of  the  great  wars  of  history.  Colonel 
Halpin  had  commanded  a  Kentucky  regiment;  Colonel  Burke  was 
commander  of  one  of  the  regiments  of  Meagher's  Brigade;  Colonel 
Kelly,  with  the  rank  of  Captain,  was  on  the  staff  of  General 
Thomas  up  to  the  Battle  of  Missionary  Ridge;  and  Captain 
Doherty  was  on  the  staff  of  General  Owen,  but  I  am  not  familiar 
with  his  record.  But  Colonel  Kerwin,  who  pleaded  hardest  for 
fight  and  offered  to  share,  with  his  colleagues,  the  full  responsi- 
bility for  ordering  it,  was  an  officer  with  an  exceptionally  distin- 
guished record.  A  Colonel  of  cavalry  who  had  won  his  promotion 
by  gallantry  in  action,  he  was  selected  by  General  Grant  in  the 
closing  days  of  the  Civil  War  for  a  particularly  difficult  service, 
which  he  performed  with  great  skill  and  judgment.  At  the  head 
of  a  body  of  cavalry  Grant  sent  him  from  Virginia  down  through 
North  Carolina,  where  the  population  was  all  hostile,  to  open 
communication  with  Sherman,  who  had  successfully  completed 
his  march  "from  Atlanta  to  the  Sea"  and  was  then  heading 
north  to  effect  a  junction  with  the  Army  of  the  Potomac.  He 
performed  his  work  to  Grant's  entire  satisfaction  and  was  com- 
plimented for  the  service.  The  judgment  of  such  a  man  on  the 
question  of  fighting  or  not  fighting  ought  to  have  decided  it, 
especially  when  backed  by  all  his  colleagues  on  the  Military 

But  one  of  Stephens'  hobbies  was  that  he  was  a  military 



genius.  His  only  military  experience  was  in  facing  British  soldiers 
once  in  1848,  when  a  fight  seemed  imminent  at  Killenaule,  County 
Tipperary,  taking  a  creditable  part,  under  William  Smith  O'Brien, 
in  the  skirmish  with  the  police  at  Ballingarry,  and  in  actual 
fighting  at  the  barricades  in  Paris  in  1851.  Stephens  was  very 
proud  of  his  participation  in  the  Paris  affair,  and  thought  it 
qualified  him  to  pronounce  judgment  on  military  questions.  This 
was  unfortunate  for  Ireland. 



Arrests  by  British  on  Large  Scale  Continued — Soldiers  at 
Richmond  Threatened  to  Seize  Barracks  and  Start  Fight — 
The  Situation  Reviewed  in  Conference  With  Stephens  on 
Night  of  February  20,  1866. 

During  the  fortnight  or  three  weeks  following  the  suspension 
of  the  Habeas  Corpus  Act  (February  17)  Dublin  presented  a  curi- 
ous spectacle.  I  saw  only  five  days  of  it  outside,  but  witnessed 
the  effects  of  it  in  Mountjoy  Prison  in  the  shape  of  new  batches 
of  arrested  men  coming  in  daily.  As  I  knew  very  many  of  them 
and  we  were  able  to  talk  in  spite  of  the  prohibition,  I  was  very 
well  informed  of  what  was  going  on  outside. 

Large  bodies  of  police,  accompanied  by  detectives,  moved  about 
the  city,  searching  suspected  residences,  hotels,  lodging  houses  and 
taprooms  and  making  arrests.  The  arrests  were  made  by  the  de- 
tectives and  the  uniformed  policemen  served  chiefly  as  escorts. 
As  several  of  the  latter  were  members  of  the  organization  and 
a  large  number  of  others  were  sympathizers,  they  sent  many 
timely  warnings,  which  enabled  some  men  to  escape  arrest.  Many 
went  over  to  England  and  some  to  America,  but  the  great  ma- 
jority remained  in  Dublin,  taking  refuge  with  friends  or  sleeping 
in  lodging  houses,  changing  to  a  different  one  every  night.  The 
strength  of  the  arresting  party  precluded  the  possibility  of  re- 
sistance in  most  cases,  but  a  few  men  fought  their  way  to  liberty 
and  were  never  captured.  If  Stephens  had  not  some  time  pre- 
viously ordered  all  revolvers  to  be  given  up  and  placed  in  small 
depots,  except  in  the  case  of  special  men  who  needed  them,  the 
resistance  would  have  been  very  general  and  the  police  would 
have  had  to  pay  a  heavy  toll.  Some  of  the  most  obnoxious  de- 
tectives who  had  been  watching  the  Fenians  for  more  than  a 
year  and  knew  many  of  them  by  sight  would  certainly  have  been 
shot.  This  would,  of  course,  have  led  to  the  calling  out  of  the 
troops  and  in  the  then  state  of  feeling  in  the  garrison  a  fight 
in  the  streets  of  the  city  on  a  large  scale  might  have  been  precipi- 
tated and  many  hundreds  of  soldiers  would  have  deserted.  The 
result  would  have  been  bloody,  but  could  not  possibly  have  been 
more  disastrous  to  Fenianism  than  the  almost  bloodless  Rising  of 
March  5,  1867, — a  year  later. 




All  the  American  officers  in  Dublin,  except  twelve,  were  ar- 
rested within  two  days  after  the  first  big  swoop  of  the  police. 
Among  them  were  Kerwin,  Denis  F.  Burke  and  Byron.  Most  of 
them  had  been  shadowed  for  some  time  and  their  lodgings  located, 
so  there  was  no  difficulty  in  finding  them.  The  two  best  men  in 
the  Dublin  garrison,  John  Boyle  O'Reilly  and  Patrick  Keating  of 
the  Fifth  Dragoon  Guards,  had  been  locked  up  before  the  Sus- 
pension and  three  or  four  of  the  most  reliable  among  the  desert- 
ers were  caught  in  the  lodging  house  raids.  Both  civilians  and 
soldiers  were  in  a  state  of  excitement  and  many  were  clamoring 
for  action. 

Word  was  brought  to  me  on  Monday,  February  19,  that  the 
men  of  the  Sixty-first  and  Sixtieth  Rifles  in  Richmond  Barracks, 
where  our  men  were  in  the  majority,  were  getting  out  of  hand 
and  were  threatening  to  seize  the  barracks  and  start  the  fight  at 
once.  This  message  reached  me  while  in  a  back  room  of  a  public 
house  owned  by  a  friend  at  the  corner  of  Camden  Street  and 
the  Long  Lane,  where  Colonel  Kelly  was  holding  a  consultation 
with  me.  There  were  enough  of  our  men  there  and  in  the  imme- 
diate neighborhood  to  take  care  of  any  body  of  police  who  might 
come,  so  Stephens'  ch^ef  lieutenant  was  comparatively  safe  from 

Kelly  told  me  I  must  prevent  any  premature  movement  of  that 
kind  at  all  hazards,  so  I  determined  to  see  the  impatient  men, 
even  if  it  should  be  necessary  to  go  into  the  barracks.  In  another 
room  were  William  Curry,  Centre  of  the  Eighty-seventh,  in 
civilian's  clothes,  and  Fennessy  of  the  Third  Buffs,  in  uniform 
and  with  a  furlough  in  his  pocket.  Fennessy  and  I  were  about 
the  same  size  and  build,  and  the  buff  facings  of  the  Third  could 
hardly  be  distinguished  at  night  from  the  white  ones  of  the  Sixty- 
first.  So  I  put  on  Fennessy's  uniform  and  he  my  clothes,  and 
Curry,  with  a  borrowed  scissors,  cut  the  beard  off  my  chin  (not 
then  very  much)  so  as  to  give  me  the  regulation  British  side 
whiskers  and  mustache.  Fennessy's  shoes  were  too  large  for  me, 
so  I  kept  my  elastic  boots,  which  were  wholly  unmilitary,  but 
would  hardly  be  noticed  in  the  night.  As  I  had  only  been  four 
years  out  of  the  Foreign  Legion  and  had  been  frequently  drilling 
during  the  intervening  time  my  appearance  was  not  likely  to  at- 
tract attention. 

I  took  an  outside  car,  drove  to  Thomas  Street  and  walked  to 
James's  Street,  where  I  visited  a  number  of  public  houses  fre- 
quented by  soldiers,  getting  closer  to  Richmond  as  I  went  along. 
I  met  a  number  of  the  Sixty-first,  and  was  assured  that  the  talk  of 
immediate  fight  was  confined  to  a  few  hotheads,  but  was  still 
a  little  dangerous.  They  said  it  would  not  be  necessary  to  go  into 



the  barracks,  but  if  I  insisted  I  could  go  in  among  a  group  of 
them  and  escape  notice.  There  would  be  no  difficulty  in  getting 
out,  with  the  furlough  and  the  forage  cap  of  the  Third  Buffs,  and, 
besides,  the  guard  at  the  gate  that  night  were  nearly  all  our 
own  men.  They  advised  me,  however,  to  walk  around  near  the 
gate,  where  I  could  see  a  number  of  the  men  as  they  returned 
to  barracks,  and  they  would  warn  them  to  be  on  the  lookout 
for  me.  This  I  did  and  I  saw  more  than  fifty  of  the  men  of 
the  Sixty-first  and  a  few  of  the  Rifles  and  arranged  with  them 
that  they  would  pass  the  word  to  keep  quiet  until  orders  for 
action  came.  I  passed  the  barracks  gate  twice,  but  had  no 
necessity  to  go  inside. 

Not  a  hint  of  this  adventure  reached  the  military  authorities, 
though  hundreds  of  soldiers  knew  of  it  within  twenty-four  hours, 
and  not  one  of  the  military  informers  said  a  word  about  it  at  the 
trials  of  the  men  a  few  months  later.  I  returned  to  Camden 
Street,  gave  his  uniform  and  his  furlough  back  to  Fennessy,  and 
with  five  or  six  others,  all  armed  with  revolvers,  went  to  a  cheap 
lodging  house,  where  we  all  slept  in  the  same  room,  which  had 
several  small  beds  in  it. 

There  were  at  that  time  between  Francis  Street,  Patrick  Street, 
Nicholas  Street  and  Bride  Street,  a  number  of  short  lanes  which 
I  believe  do  not  now  exist  and  the  names  of  which  I  do  not  re- 
member. They  contained  a  lot  of  lodging  houses  where  a  bed 
could  be  had  for  four-pence.  In  Nicholas  Street  and  Bride  Street 
were  some  eating  houses  where  a  meal  could  be  had  for  four- 
pence.  It  was  very  poor,  but  good  enough  for  a  healthy,  hungry 
man.  As  most  of  them  working  with  me  could  not  go  home, 
and  Fleming's  in  George's  Street,  the  Ormond  on  Ormond  Quay 
and  the  Ship  in  Lower  Abbey  Street,  where  we  had  been  eating 
alternately  for  some  months,  were  all  closely  watched,  we  lived 
and  slept  around  this  section  for  a  while  in  perfect  safety.  In 
the  early  mornings,  when  the  detectives  were  sleeping  off  the  ef- 
fects of  their  night  watch,  we  were  often  able  to  get  a  good 
breakfast  at  Fleming's,  always  going  in  groups,  so  as  to  be  ready 
to  resist  arrest.  Having  nothing  to  do  during  the  daytime  and 
no  place  to  stop,  we  spent  much  of  the  time  walking  the  streets, 
keeping  within  supporting  distance  of  each  other  and  resting 
occasionally  in  the  taproom  of  a  friend's  public  house.  In  such 
times  the  public  street  is  often  the  safest  place  for  a  hunted 

About  a  fortnight  before  the  Suspension  of  the  Habeas  Corpus 
Act,  Stephens  had  sent  me  word  that  he  wanted  me  to  furnish 
him  about  once  a  week  with  written  reports  of  conditions  in  the 
army.  It  was  an  utterly  useless  and  very  dangerous  proceeding. 



I  had  been  sending  him  regularly  detailed  reports,  in  a  sort  of 
cipher,  that  contained  all  the  necessary  information  from  a  mili- 
tary point  of  view.  I  ruled  off  a  sheet  of  foolscap  with  vertical 
and  horizontal  columns,  putting  cipher  headings  at  the  top  and 
on  the  left  hand  side,  which  contained  the  numbers  and  location 
of  the  regiments  of  infantry  and  cavalry  and  the  batteries  of 
artillery;  the  strength  of  the  guards  and  pickets  (which  were  be- 
ing increased  as  the  Government  became  more  alarmed) ,  with 
the  number  of  our  men  in  each;  the  total  number  of  men  in  each 
regiment  or  battery  and  how  many  of  these  we  could  count  on.  I 
knew  that  Kelly  read  these  reports  carefully,  for  he  did  it  in  my 
presence,  but  I  learned  later  that  Stephens  gave  them  scant  at- 
tention, if  he  even  read  them.  What  he  wanted  now  was  de- 
scriptive writing  about  the  spirit  of  the  soldiers  and  anything  else 
which  I  thought  might  be  useful  to  him. 

I  obeyed  the  order  with  great  reluctance,  but  had  only  sent 
him  two  or  three  of  these  reports  when  the  Habeas  Corpus  Act 
was  suspended.  On  Tuesday,  February  20,  I  wrote  the  last  one — 
and  I  intended  it  to  be  the  last — under  great  difficulties.  I  had 
met  hundreds  of  the  civilian  members,  who  were  so  excited  that 
they  had  knocked  off  work,  among  them  being  several  of  the 
Dublin  Centres.  They  were  all  dissatisfied  at  Stephens'  inac- 
tion and  a  spirit  of  impatience  and  almost  open  mutiny  was 
growing  fast.  Two  of  them,  a  civilian  and  a  military  Centre,  had 
bluntly  asked  me  to  "pitch  Stephens  to  the  devil"  and  call  out  the 
soldiers  at  once.  I  refused  and  pointed  out  the  folly  of  such  ac- 
tion. I  had  been  placed  in  charge  of  the  organization  in  the 
army  by  Stephens'  appointment;  he  was  my  commanding  officer 
and  theirs,  and  we  were  all  bound  to  obey  him.  I  was  horrified 
by  the  proposition  that  a  subordinate  should  take  the  responsi- 
bility of  bringing  about  an  insurrection  against  the  orders  of  his 
Chief  and  making  a  Split  in  Ireland  that  must  prove  still  more 
disastrous  than  the  one  in  America.  I  had  some  trouble  in  dis- 
suading them,  but  I  failed  to  satisfy  them. 

I  described  this  situation  in  my  report,  without  naming  the 
mutinous  men,  and  took  the  liberty  of  saying  to  Stephens  that  in 
my  judgment  the  organization  could  not  be  held  together  much 
longer  unless  there  was  either  an  immediate  fight  or  a  definite 
postponement  which  would  enable  the  men  to  settle  down  to 
work;  that  the  suspense  caused  by  the  expectation  of  the  fulfill- 
ment of  his  pledge  of  the  previous  December  should  be  ended,  or 
the  men  would  be  completely  demoralized.  I  added  that  the  writ- 
ing of  such  reports  would  be  impossible  any  longer. 

I  had  to  write  that  particular  report  in  taprooms  and  had  been 
interrupted  three  times  by  police  raids,  of  which  I  had  been 



warned  in  time  by  my  vigilant  lookouts  to  get  away.  The  ab- 
surdity of  writing  reports  for  the  head  of  a  revolutionary  organi- 
zation under  such  circumstances  struck  me  very  forcibly  and  I 
felt  it  was  dangerous,  as  well  as  foolish. 

I  sought  Kelly,  handed  him  the  report,  which  he  read,  and 
supplemented  it  verbally  in  answer  to  his  questions.  This  was 
late  in  the  afternoon  and  I  had  a  number  of  men  to  meet  in 
various  parts  of  the  city,  which  kept  me  so  busy  that  I  had  no 
chance  of  getting  anything  to  eat.  My  last  appointment  was  at 
Parker's  in  George's  Street,  kept  by  Joseph  Cromien,  who  died 
some  years  ago  in  New  York.  There  were  never  less  than  twenty 
of  our  men  in  his  place  in  the  evening  and  often  there  were  as 
many  as  fifty,  some  of  whom  carried  revolvers;  so  it  would  take 
a  strong  force  of  police  to  arrest  a  man  there.  Several  of  our 
best  men  were  there  that  night  and  I  told  some  of  them  what  I 
had  written  to  "The  Captain".  They  were  all  of  one  mind,  because 
they  fully  recognized  that  the  tense  situation  could  not  continue. 

I  left  Cromien's  about  half-past  nine,  went  into  a  neighboring 
shop,  where  I  bought  some  spiced  beef  and  a  roll  of  bread,  which 
I  ate  as  I  walked  along  the  street.  It  was  my  first  morsel  since 
8  o'clock  in  the  morning.  I  was  going  to  pass  the  night  in  the 
house  of  my  aunt  in  Mabbot  Street,  Mrs.  Delany,  who  was  my 
father's  eldest  sister  and  a  strong  sympathizer  with  the  move- 
ment. She  had  helped  me  to  run  away  to  be  a  French  soldier. 
I  could  always  count  on  her  help,  and  all  her  sons  were  members, 
but  the  eldest  and  most  reliable,  William,  who  died  in  St.  Louis, 
was  then  in  London. 

I  had  not  gone  half  a  block  when  I  was  overtaken  by  a  man 
who  informed  me  that  Colonel  Kelly  wanted  to  see  me  at  the 
Bleeding  Horse,  a  tavern  in  Camden  Street,  not  far  from  the 
Grand  Canal.  I  went  there  direct  and  Kelly  said:  "The  Old 
Man  wants  to  see  you  at  once."  We  walked  to  the  nearest  car 
stand,  took  an  outside  car,  and  Kelly  told  the  jarvey  to  drive 
to  the  north  side  of  Stephens  Green.  Arrived  there,  he  told  him 
to  drive  into  Dawson  Street  and  dismissed  him  about  half  way  to 
Nassau  Street.  We  walked  on  until  the  jarvey  was  out  of  sight, 
then  turned  back  and  went  through  a  stable  lane  to  Kildare 
Street.  Nearly  opposite  the  Kildare  Street  Club,  the  headquar- 
ters of  Loyalism,  Kelly  halted  and  seeing  that  there  was  nobody 
near,  walked  up  the  steps  of  a  house  and  rang  the  bell.  The  door 
was  promptly  opened  by  a  stout,  grey-haired  lady,  with  a  cheer- 
ful, smiling  face,  who  was  evidently  expecting  us.  She  was  Mrs. 
Butler,  a  fashionable  dressmaker.  She  shook  hands  warmly  with 
Kelly,  who  introduced  me,  and  she  led  the  way  to  the  front  room 
on  the  second  floor,  where  we  found  a  party  of  men  waiting  for 



us.  Others  came  later,  and  when  all  had  arrived  the  party  con- 
sisted of  James  Stephens,  Colonel  Kelly,  Colonel  Halpin,  Edmund 
O'Donovan,  Mortimer  Moynahan  of  Skibbereen,  David  Murphy 
of  Limerick,  John  Nolan  of  Carlow,  and  myself.  Nolan  had  been 
living  in  Belfast  and  was  the  Chief  Organizer  for  Ulster,  but  was 
then  managing  the  civilian  organization  under  Colonel  Kelly's 
directions.   Mrs.  Stephens  was  also  there. 

While  the  two  ladies  were  present  Stephens  told  us  in  a 
jocular  tone  that  Mrs.  Butler  would  be  willing  to  keep  the  Lord 
Lieutenant  in  her  house  if  we  could  capture  him.  Mrs.  Butler 
assured  us  that  nothing  would  give  her  greater  pleasure  than  to 
hold  him  a  prisoner  in  her  house  and  that  the  bodyguard  we 
would  supply  would  also  be  welcome  and  would  want  for  nothing. 
There  could  be  no  doubt  about  her  sincerity  in  the  matter.  "They 
would  never  suspect,"  she  said  laughingly,  "that  we'd  have  such 
guests  so  near  the  club  house  across  the  street." 

Mrs.  Butler  was  a  widow  with  an  only  daughter,  Sarah  Jane 
Butler,  who  had  written  some  good  verse  in  the  Nation,  and  they 
had  not  a  male  relative  in  the  organization.  This  was  the  most 
striking  instance  I  had  yet  met  of  the  devotion  of  the  women  of 
Ireland  at  that  time.  Mrs.  Butler  paid  dearly  for  her  patriotism, 
for  the  story  that  she  had  sheltered  Stephens  leaked  out  after 
the  failure,  and  her  customers,  who  were  mostly  Loyalists,  de- 
serted her  and  she  died  in  poverty. 

Mrs.  Butler  withdrew  after  this,  but  Mrs.  Stephens  remained 
a  considerable  time  and  the  talk  went  on  in  her  presence.  With 
her  recent  experience,  she  was  naturally  very  anxious  for  her 
husband's  safety.  She  spent  much  of  her  time  looking  out  of 
the  window  and  said  several  times:  "Oh,  James,  don't  talk  so 
loud.  They  may  hear  you  on  the  street."  There  was  nobody  on 
the  street  and  if  there  had  been  the  voices  in  that  room  could 
not  be  heard.  Stephens  told  her  so  and  at  last  prevailed  on  her 
to  retire. 

After  some  general  talk,  Stephens  turned  to  me  and  said:  "I 
got  your  letter  this  evening.  I  did  not  know  things  were  so 
serious,  so  I  called  a  few  of  our  friends  together  for  consultation. 
The  men  here  know  the  whole  country  and  I'll  leave  it  to  them 
to  decide  what  ought  to  be  done."  Then  he  said:  "I  wish  Ned 
Duffy  were  here."  [Duffy  had  been  arrested  with  Stephens  and 
Kickham  on  November  11,  1865,  but  had  been  released  on  bail]. 

Believing  that  the  fate  of  the  organization  depended  on  the 
decision  whether  the  fight  was  to  come  off  within  the  next  few 
days  or  to  be  put  off  again,  and  feeling  very  sure  that  Duffy  would 
vote  for  immediate  action,  if  there  was  to  be  a  vote,  I  immediately 



offered  to  go  for  him.  But  Stephens  said:  "Oh,  no;  you'd  be  In 
danger  of  arrest."  I  replied  that  I  was  in  that  danger  every  hour 
of  the  twenty-four  and  would  be  in  no  more  danger  going  for 
Duffy  than  at  any  other  time.  Duffy  was  staying  at  the  European 
Hotel  in  Bolton  Street,  which  was  closely  watched  during  the  day- 
time, but  most  of  the  employees  there  could  be  depended  on  to 
give  us  all  the  help  in  their  power.  Duffy  was  in  an  advanced 
stage  of  consumption  and  not  expected  to  go  out  at  night,  so 
there  would  probably  be  no  detectives  around  at  that  time.  Be- 
sides, I  was  dressed  like  a  countryman,  with  a  heavy  brown  frieze 
coat  and,  as  the  house  was  frequented  by  farmers  and  country 
shopkeepers,  I  could  probably  pass  in  and  out  unnoticed,  and  by 
breaking  the  journey  and  taking  two  cars,  I  was  confident  I  could 
bring  Duffy  to  Mrs.  Butler's  house  in  safety.  Stephens  would  not 
hear  of  it,  however. 

I  felt  that  Stephens  feared  we  might  be  tracked  to  the  house 
and  that  he  would  be  arrested,  and,  as  I  considered  his  safety 
necessary  to  the  organization  and  wished  to  save  Mrs.  Butler  from 
needless  danger,  I  desisted.  I  have  been  convinced  ever  since  that 
had  Duffy  been  there  that  night  and  the  next — for  he  could  have 
remained  there  next  day — immediate  fight  would  have  been  de- 
cided on. 

Halpin  and  Kelly  were  the  only  remaining  members  of  the 
Military  Council.  Nolan  could  speak  for  conditions  in  the  North, 
Moynahan  and  Murphy  for  a  large  part  of  Munster,  while 
O'Donovan  knew  Clare  as  well  as  he  did  Dublin,  and  I  repre- 
sented the  organization  in  the  army.  But  Connacht  had  nobody 
to  speak  for  her.  Duffy  could  do  that  as  no  other  man  could.  He 
knew  every  man  of  any  account  in  the  whole  province  and  they 
all  looked  up  to  him.  Strictly  speaking,  no  man  present  repre- 
sented anybody  and  had  no  right  to  decide  anything.  They  held 
their  positions  by  Stephens'  appointment  alone,  and  their  only 
right  to  be  there  was  that  Stephens  had  invited  them,  so  that 
they  could  give  him  their  advice. 

There  was  no  Chairman  and  no  regular  session  was  held,  but 
Stephens  was  practically  Chairman.  As  was  his  invariable  habit, 
owing  probably  to  his  lack  of  outdoor  exercise,  he  walked  in  his 
slippers  about  the  room  all  the  time  with  his  hands  in  his 
pockets,  while  everyone  else  was  seated.  I  don't  think  he  sat  for 
five  minutes  during  the  many  hours  we  were  there.  There  was 
no  smoking  or  drinking,  and  neither  was  there  any  speechmaking. 
It  was  a  very  earnest  discussion,  but  was  conversational  all 
through  the  night. 

The  first  thing  that  was  taken  stock  of  was  the  condition  of 
the  organization,  on  account  of  the  large  number  of  arrests  and 



the  certainty  of  many  more.  Its  force  was  still  unbroken  and  it 
would  have  undoubtedly  responded  promptly  to  a  call  to  arms — 
if  the  arms  were  there.  But  it  was  found  that  there  were  only 
about  2,000  rifles  in  the  whole  organization,  with  some  thousands 
of  shotguns,  a  large  number  of  pikes  and  a  few  hundred  revolvers. 
But  there  were  plenty  of  Government  rifles  within  easy  reach, 
and  any  one  of  three  out  of  the  four  Provincial  arsenals  could  be 
taken  by  surprise  by  a  small  body  of  picked  men.  These  were 
the  Pigeon  House  Fort  (in  Dublin),  Athlone  and  Ballincollig. 
Carrickfergus  was  out  of  the  question  until  we  should  have  a 
large  force  in  the  field.  So  it  resolved  itself  into  a  question  of 
arming  a  sufficient  force  to  capture  one  of  these  arsenals,  for 
there  was  no  scarcity  of  trained  men. 

The  talk  was  concentrated  on  this  subject  for  a  long  time  and 
the  scarcity  of  arms  was  recognized  as  the  chief  difficulty. 
Stephens  said  there  were  2,000  more  rifles  in  Liverpool  [we 
learned  that  these  had  been  purchased  by  Col.  Ricard  Burke] 
which  could  be  brought  over  at  once,  but  the  active  watchfulness 
of  the  police  made  their  safe  landing  very  improbable  unless  it 
was  protected  by  a  strong  body  of  armed  men.  That  would  mean 
that  the  fight  and  the  landing  of  the  rifles  would  have  to  be 

This  brought  us  to  the  condition  of  the  organization  in  the 
army  and  the  possibility  of  using  a  portion  of  it  to  strike  the  first 
blow.  It  was  then  I  learned  that  Stephens  knew  the  condition 
of  the  army  only  in  a  general  way,  had  not  read  my  reports  and 
was  ignorant  of  the  figures  they  contained.  The  sentiment  that 
night  was  all  in  favor  of  fight  and  I  was  satisfied  that  if  a  vote 
had  been  taken  it  would  have  been  for  immediate  action.  But 
it  was  plain  to  all  of  us  that  while  Stephens  said  nothing  posi- 
tive, he  was  really  in  favor  of  another  postponement.  I  had  told 
what  I  felt  certain  could  be  done  either  in  Dublin  or  Athlone,  but 
Stephens  wanted  the  exact  figures  of  our  strength  in  the  various 
regiments.  I  had  them  at  my  fingers'  ends,  but  he  wanted  them 
in  writing.  I  offered  to  write  them  there  and  then,  but  he  pre- 
ferred waiting  till  the  next  night,  as  it  was  then  very  late  and 
the  matter  required  full  discussion. 

Stephens  informed  us  that  he  had  sent  Captain  McCafferty  on 
a  special  mission  to  America  and  that  he  must  have  arrived  in 
New  York  by  that  time.  O'Mahony,  he  said,  had  $125,000  in  the 
treasury  of  his  wing  of  the  Fenian  Brotherhood,  and  he  (Steph- 
ens) had  sent  an  urgent  appeal  that  it  be  sent  over  by  McCaf- 
ferty at  once. 

But  the  burden  of  his  talk  was  all  in  favor  of  waiting  for  two 
or  three  weeks,  just  as  he  had  talked  of  three  weeks  or  a  month 



in  the  previous  December.  The  sentiment  was  so  universal  in 
favor  of  righting  that  he  seemed  loath  to  ask  for  a  long  post- 

At  about  3  o'clock  on  the  morning  of  February  21  the  meeting 
broke  up,  with  an  agreement  that  all  should  return  at  8  o'clock 
that  evening.  We  left  separately  so  as  to  avoid  being  noticed. 
All  the  others  could  rest  during  the  day,  but  Kelly  and  I  had  to 
meet  a  number  of  men,  beginning  about  10  o'clock,  so  we  only 
got  about  three  hours'  sleep  and  were  rather  fagged  out  when 
the  meeting  reconvened. 



Another  War  Conference — Plan  to  Capture  Barracks  and  Eng- 
lish Arms  Therein  Met  With  Favor — Paucity  of  Rifles  in 
Hands  of  Civilian  Forces  Was  the  Deciding  Factor  Against 
Its  Adoption — Disruption  Followed. 

The  same  eight  men  assembled  again  that  Wednesday  evening 
at  Mrs.  Butler's  house.  Numerous  arrests  had  been  made  that 
day,  and  it  was  plain  to  us  that  our  best  men  were  all  in  danger. 
Either  the  blow  must  be  struck  at  once,  or  a  definite  postpone- 
ment made  that  would  give  the  wanted  men  a  chance  to  get 
to  places  of  safety.  Otherwise  the  organization  would  be  shat- 
tered in  a  few  weeks  and  it  would  not  be  possible  to  strike  later 
with  any  hope  of  success.  In  the  conversation  that  took  place 
before  the  regular  discussion  started  this  was  freely  admitted 
by  all. 

Kelly  reported  on  the  condition  of  the  organization,  giving 
particular  attention  to  Dublin.  Notwithstanding  the  number  of 
arrests  made  during  the  previous  five  days,  the  Circles  in  Dub- 
lin were  practically  intact,  the  mettle  of  the  men  was  good 
and  communication  between  officers  and  men  perfect.  An  order 
issued  would  reach  them  all  in  a  few  hours.  The  men  in  all  the 
Leinster  counties  would  require  only  a  few  hours  longer  and  all 
Ireland  could  be  notified  of  the  decision  inside  of  two  days. 
Where  Centres  or  other  important  men  had  been  arrested  their 
places  had  been  promptly  filled,  according  to  arrangements  previ- 
ously made,  except  in  a  few  isolated  cases.  It  was  a  splendid 
fighting  organization,  capable  of  quick  action,  if  the  tools  to  fight 
with  were  on  hand.  That  was  the  difficulty,  but  it  was  not  in- 

In  Dublin,  Kelly  stated,  the  number  of  rifles  was  800  and  of 
all  other  weapons — shotguns,  revolvers  and  pikes — there  were 
about  a  thousand.  We  had  certainly  8,000  men  in  the  city,  but 
out  of  that  number  only  1,800  could  be  armed  with  any  kind  of 
weapon.  Several  thousand  other  men  could  be  brought  in  from 
places  within  an  hour's  railroad  journey  of  Dublin,  but  few  of 
them  had  arms  of  any  kind.  The  two  veteran  officers  present 
had  no  faith  in  the  pike,  but  admitted  that  in  fighting  at  close 
quarters  in  the  city  it  would  be  useful.  I  could  have  added  200 
to  the  number  of  rifles  by  a  raid  on  the  Coastguard  station, 




which  was  then  on  the  Pigeon  House  Road,  where  nobody  lived, 
and  consisted  only  of  a  well  built  wooden  shed.  The  rifles  were 
the  short  Enfield  and  there  was  a  sword  bayonet  for  each.  There 
was  also  a  small  cannon  there  which  was  used  by  the  Coast  Guard 
men  for  practice. 

The  exact  figures  of  the  strength  of  the  garrison  and  the  num- 
ber of  our  men  in  it,  which  Stephens  had  told  me  on  the  previous 
night  to  bring,  showed  that  it  consisted  of  about  6,000  men,  more 
than  half  of  whom  were  Irish,  and  1,600  belonged  to  the  organiza- 
tion. The  question  of  attempting  to  capture  Dublin  was  first  taken 
up,  and  it  seemed  to  the  military  men  to  be  a  desperate  chance. 
But  everything  in  revolution  is  desperate  and  we  were  confronted 
with  the  alternative  of  doing  something  desperate  or  giving  up  the 
hope  of  a  fight  for  some  time,  during  which  many  of  our  men 
would  surely  be  arrested  and  a  number  of  our  arms  seized.  As- 
suming that  the  2,000  rifles  could  be  safely  brought  over  from 
Liverpool,  we  should  have  to  face  6,000  regular  soldiers  with 
2,800  partially  trained  men  armed  with  rifles  and  1,000  others 
armed  very  indifferently,  making  a  total  of  3,800.  Kelly  had  no 
doubt  of  being  able  to  get  the  2,000  Liverpool  rifles  over  in  two 
or  three  days. 

Counting  the  1,600  Fenians  in  the  garrison,  it  would  mean 
4,400  men  with  rifles,  supported  by  1,000  more,  imperfectly  armed, 
against  4,400  soldiers,  of  whom  about  2,000  were  Irishmen  and 
many  of  them  in  sympathy  with  us.  If  these  2,000  joined  us,  as 
we  had  good  reason  to  expect  they  would,  it  would  give  us  6,400 
men  against  2,400.  But  except  in  the  case  of  Richmond  Barracks, 
where  our  friends  were  in  a  large  majority,  and  in  the  cavalry 
part  of  the  Royal  Barracks,  where  the  Fifth  Dragoon  Guards 
were  stationed,  the  Fenian  soldiers  were  mixed  up  with  the  others, 
so  that  we  could  not  mobilize  our  whole  force  at  once.  Fully  300 
men  of  the  Fifth  Dragoons  were  ready  to  come  out  of  the  Royal 
Barracks,  after  cutting  the  gas  main,  and  80  of  the  Tenth  Hussars 
from  Island  Bridge,  all  armed  and  mounted. 

The  two  American  officers  were  not  enthusiastic  about  under- 
taking an  attack  on  Dublin  under  such  circumstances.  Neither 
would  any  of  the  others  if  the  crisis  had  not  been  reached  in  the 
way  it  had  been  and  if  the  destruction  of  the  organization  did  not 
seem  imminent  unless  a  fight  took  place.  None  of  us  would  at 
any  time  have  contemplated  an  insurrection  under  such  condi- 
tions, but  it  seemed  to  some  of  us  a  question  of  "now  or  never". 
We  knew  the  Irish  people  better  than  the  American  officers, 
who  had  only  recently  returned  from  the  United  States,  where 
they  had  been  for  many  years.  And  we  had  by  that  time,  on  ac- 
count of  the  Split  in  the  Fenian  Brotherhood,  lost  all  hope  of 



effective  help  from  America  unless  we  took  the  field  and  were 
able  to  hold  out  for  a  while. 

Halpin  talked  a  good  deal  of  a  general  insurrection,  if  we 
had  sufficient  arms  to  make  a  good  start,  and  sketched  out  a 
plan  of  campaign.  He  had  had  much  practical  experience  during 
the  Civil  War,  including  an  occasional  opportunity  to  take  com- 
mand of  the  Brigade  of  which  his  regiment  formed  a  part.  Of 
course,  in  such  a  large  army  a  Colonel's  experience  consists  main- 
ly in  obeying  orders  during  battles,  but  Kelly,  being  a  staff  officer 
at  the  Commanding  General's  headquarters,  had  been  able  to  see 
more  of  the  fighting  and  to  learn  why  the  movements  were  made. 
As  we  had  not  the  arms  to  start  a  general  insurrection,  this  dis- 
cussion, while  very  instructive,  brought  us  no  nearer  to  the  solu- 
tion of  the  question  with  which  we  were  then  face  to  face.  Could 
we  strike  a  blow  at  the  Capital,  or  at  some  other  point,  that  would 
have  any  chance  of  success,  and  that  would  if  successful,  remedy 
our  woeful  lack  of  armament  by  giving  us  possession  of  a  large 
quantity  of  rifles?  If  we  could  not,  then  the  only  tning  lerr  iu> 
us  to  do  was  to  definitely  postpone  the  fight,  come  out  of  the 
battle  for  existence  with  the  English  Government  as  best  we 
could,  and  prepare  for  an  insurrection  under  more  favorable  aus- 
pices in  the  future. 

In  the  presence  of  two  such  competent  officers,  it  was  hard  for 
very  young  men  of  no  experience  in  war  to  venture  to  offer  sug- 
gestions for  a  plan  of  an  uprising,  but  the  desperate  character 
of  the  situation  made  three  of  us  take  courage  to  do  so.  I  had 
previously  discussed  with  Edmund  O'Donovan  and  others,  two 
projects  that  might  be  undertaken  in  such  an  emergency.  One 
of  these  concerned  Dublin,  the  other  Athlone,  and  each  had  for 
its  object  the  capture  of  30,000  rifles,  with  a  lot  of  ammunition, 
equipment  and  military  stores.  So,  somewhat  timidly,  I  laid  them 
before  the  meeting. 

As  the  two  military  men  had  shown  that  a  simultaneous  at- 
tack on  all  the  barracks  and  a  general  turnout  of  the  men  was 
entirely  out  of  the  question,  owing  to  our  lack  of  arms,  I  pro- 
posed to  concentrate  our  attack  on  the  one  barrack  where  we 
had  a  majority  of  the  soldiers,  bringing  no  men  there  but  those 
who  had  rifles,  and  if  successful,  then  proceed  to  attack  the  others 
in  detail.  With  900  Fenians  out  of  the  1,550  or  1,600  men  of  the 
Sixty-first  and  the  Sixtieth  Rifles  in  Richmond  Barracks  and  a 
key  of  the  back  gate  facing  the  Grand  Canal  in  our  possession, 
I  was  confident  that  we  could  surprise  and  capture  it  without 
much  difficulty.  The  bank  of  the  canal  back  of  the  barrack  was 
closed  to  traffic  between  two  bridges,  was  very  dark  on  moonless 
nights  because  it  was  shaded  with  large  elm  trees  and  there 



were  no  lamps,  and  the  grass  was  so  thick  and  long  that  the 
tramp  of  men  over  it  would  make  practically  no  noise.  The  gate 
had  not  been  opened  for  many  years,  but  there  was  a  small  guard 
stationed  inside  of  it. 

I  proposed  that  our  riflemen  should  be  collected  on  the  canal 
bank  at  an  hour  when  the  soldiers  would  be  all  in,  but  before 
they  would  have  gone  to  bed.  Tom  Chambers,  the  Centre  of  the 
Sixty-first,  then  a  deserter  in  Dublin,  would  pick  out  a  small  num- 
ber of  the  best  men  of  the  regiment  to  remain  out  of  barracks 
and  form  the  vanguard  of  the  attacking  party.  They  would 
know  every  man  of  the  guard  and  would  serve  as  guides.  With- 
out giving  any  notice  to  our  friends  inside,  so  as  to  avoid  loose 
talk,  excitement  or  chance  of  betrayal,  the  gate  would  be  sud- 
denly opened  and  our  men  would  march  inside,  move  rapidly  to 
the  positions  assigned  them,  make  prisoners  of  such  officers 
as  happened  to  be  on  duty,  rally  our  friends  to  our  support  and 
capture  the  Englishmen. 

We  could  have  probably  captured  Richmond  without  firing  a 
shot.  If  there  was  any  fighting  it  would  speedily  be  over.  The 
only  thing  that  could  have  beaten  us  would  have  been  the  giving 
of  precise  and  definite  information  of  the  plan,  which  would  have 
only  been  in  the  possession  of  half  a  dozen  men,  every  one  of 
whom  has  since  been  proved  to  be  true. 

With  Richmond  in  our  possession,  reinforced  by  900  Fenian 
soldiers  and  probably  several  hundred  others,  with  the  balance 
of  the  rifles  to  arm  another  contingent  of  our  men,  our  next  move 
would  naturally  be  on  Island  Bridge  Barracks,  which  were  near 
at  hand,  where  the  Tenth  Hussars  were  lying.  It  would  there  be  a 
contest  between  our  2,000  infantry  and  their  400  cavalrymen, 
who  would  not  be  expecting  attack.  That  would  not  be  a  serious 
proposition.  With  Richmond  and  Island  Bridge  in  our  hands, 
the  southwestern  outlets  of  Dublin  would  be  open  to  us,  in  case  of 
defeat  in  the  other  parts  of  the  city,  and  we  could  march  out. 

Next  we  would  move  on  the  Royal  Barracks,  across  the  King's 
Bridge  on  the  northern  side  of  the  Liffey.  The  problem  there 
would  be  somewhat  harder,  for  we  should  have  to  tackle  a  regi- 
ment of  infantry,  a  regiment  of  cavalry  and  a  battery  of  artillery. 
But  in  the  Eighth  Foot  we  had  200  men  and  in  the  Fifth  Dragoon 
Guards,  300;  and  as  the  attacking  force  would  be  superior,  the 
chances  would  all  be  in  our  favor.  Success  there  would  add  at 
least  500  trained  soldiers  to  our  force. 

By  this  time  the  military  authorities  would  probably  be 
aroused  and  the  future  character  of  the  fighting  would  depend 
largely  on  their  action.    They  would  be  taken  unawares  and 



would  be  at  a  serious  disadvantage.  If  they  marched  any  large 
part  of  the  remainder  of  the  garrison  into  the  streets,  so  much 
the  better  for  us.  We  would  seize  certain  houses  marked  on  a 
map  by  Thomas  Frith,  and  use  them  as  points  of  concentra- 
tion and  support.  The  other  barracks  were  Ship  Street,  near 
the  Castle;  Portobello;  and  Beggar's  Bush  which  was  nearest  to 
the  Pigeon  House  Fort,  where  the  30,000  rifles  were  stored.  I 
forget  now  whether  there  was  a  small  body  of  troops  in  Aldbor- 
ough  Barracks,  on  the  North  Circular  Road,  between  Summer 
Hill  and  Gloucester  Street,  but  my  recollection  is  that  it  was 
occupied  by  Constabulary  recruits.  I  am  also  in  doubt  as  to 
whether  any  soldiers  were  stationed  at  the  Linen  Hall  Barracks, 
on  the  North  Side  of  the  city,  but  I  had  exact  information  at 
the  time  and  laid  it  before  the  meeting.  The  plan  also  provided 
for  bodies  of  men  to  capture  the  Castle  and  the  Pigeon  House 
Fort,  without  waiting  to  finish  with  the  barracks. 

The  plan  rather  startled  Halpin,  to  whom  I  had  not  had  an 
opportunity  of  talking  on  the  subject,  but  Kelly  knew  of  it 
already.  They  were  both  more  in  favor  of  a  simultaneous  attack 
on  the  Pigeon  House  and  Richmond,  if  we  could  first  land  the 
2,000  rifles  from  Liverpool,  but  my  proposition  was  based  orig- 
inally on  the  arms  we  actually  had  in  our  possession,  knowing 
nothing  of  the  Liverpool  rifles  until  the  night  before.  As  the 
matter  was  discussed  and  the  possibility  of  the  organization  being 
broken  by  the  wholesale  arrests  was  borne  in  on  them,  Kelly  and 
Halpin  warmed  to  the  amended  project — that  is,  a  simultaneous 
attack  on  the  Pigeon  House  and  Richmond.  But,  the  essential 
condition  under  which  Halpin  and  Kelly  favored  my  plan  for 
prompt  action,  namely,  possession  by  our  men  of  the  Liverpool 
rifles,  was  not  possible  of  immediate  attainment;  and,  further- 
more, as  most  of  the  trained  American  officers  had  been  arrested 
and  lodged  in  Mount  joy  Prison  a  few  days  previously,  the  majority 
of  the  eight  men  present  at  that  meeting  on  the  night  of  February 
21,  1866,  saw  no  hope  for  a  successful  start.  Thus,  the  last  chance 
for  a  Rising  in  that  year  was  thrown  away,  and  the  temporary 
disruption  of  the  movement  followed. 



Wholesale  Arrests  Broke  Strength  of  the  Organization — As- 
sociation of  Men  in  Prison  Resulted  Favorably  Later — 
Women  Played  Important  Part  in  Reorganization — 200,000 
Irish  Veterans  of  the  American  Civil  War  Animated  with 
the  Spirit  of  Fenianism — General  Miles  on  the  Post-War 

In  a  few  weeks  the  jails  were  filled  with  fully  3,000  prisoners, 
and  those  believed  to  be  the  most  important  were  sent  up  to 
Dublin,  where  room  was  made  for  them  in  Mountjoy  Prison,  up 
to  then  reserved  for  convicted  men.  When  Mountjoy  became 
crowded,  some  were  sent  to  Belfast  and  others  sent  to  Naas.  In 
order  to  relieve  the  congestion,  the  Government  after  a  while  be- 
gan to  let  some  out  on  bail,  thus  placing  them  "on  their  good 
behavior"  and  liable  to  be  rearrested  at  any  time,  while  others 
were  released  on  the  condition  of  going  to  America.  In  the  latter 
case  they  were  escorted  to  the  steamer.  Out  of  Ireland  the  Gov- 
ernment thought  they  would  be  less  dangerous,  but  many  men 
who  could  easily  pay  their  passage  refused  to  avail  themselves  of 
the  privilege,  believing  up  to  the  end  of  the  Summer  that  the 
fight  would  come  and  preferring  to  take  their  chances  in  Ireland. 
The  men  who  willingly  cleared  out  to  America  lost  caste,  but  the 
proportion  was  very  small. 

While  the  wholesale  arrests  did  great  harm  and  dislocated  the 
organization,  they  accomplished  another  purpose  which  the  Gov- 
ernment had  not  anticipated.  The  best  men  of  the  movement 
in  all  parts  of  Ireland,  and  from  England  and  Scotland,  who  had 
not  previously  been  known  to  one  another  became  acquainted  and 
formed  friendships  which  lasted  for  the  rest  of  their  lives.  It 
was  this  which  prepared  the  way  for  and  made  possible,  after  the 
failure  of  the  Rising,  the  reorganization  of  Fenianism  on  a  better 
and  more  durable  plan  than  the  one-man  rule  of  James  Stephens. 
But  for  the  moment  it  broke  the  strength  of  the  organization, 
temporarily  dislocated  all  communication,  and  created  new  and 
serious  difficulties.  Connections  were  soon  partially  restored, 
however,  by  a  small  band  of  devoted  women,  mostly  the  wives 
and  sisters  of  the  leading  male  members,  and  they  were  efficiently 
aided  by  the  women  friends  of  the  men  throughout  the  country. 




In  America  there  was  a  Fenian  Sisterhood,  which  was  the 
first  organization  of  women  on  a  large  scale  for  political  pur- 
poses in  the  history  of  the  world.  In  Ireland  there  was  no  regu- 
lar organization  of  Fenian  women,  but  a  large  number  of  them 
worked  as  well  as  if  they  had  been  organized.  They  took  no 
pledge,  but  were  trusted  by  the  men  without  one,  were  the  keep- 
ers of  important  secrets,  travelled  from  point  to  point  bearing 
important  messages,  and  were  the  chief  agents  in  keeping  the 
organization  alive  in  Ireland  from  the  time  that  Stephens  left 
for  America  early  in  1866  until  the  Rising  of  March  5,  1867.  And 
not  one  woman  betrayed  a  secret,  proved  false  to  the  trust  re- 
posed in  her,  or  by  carelessness  or  indiscretion  was  responsible 
for  any  injury  to  the  cause.  It  was  a  fine  record  for  Irish  woman- 

But  while  the  women  were  not  organized  for  purely  Fenian 
purposes,  there  was  a  central  organization  for  a  subsidiary  object 
which  accomplished  that  end.  This  was  the  Ladies'  Committee 
which  collected  funds  to  provide  counsel  for  the  prisoners  on 
trial,  fed  those  who  were  sick  and  did  other  work  of  a  benevolent 
character.  The  chief  figures  in  this  women's  movement  were 
Mrs.  Luby,  wife  of  Thomas  Clarke  Luby  (who  was  the  Treasurer) ; 
Mary  O'Donovan  Rossa,  wife  of  the  famous  Fenian  (who  acted  as 
the  Secretary) ;  the  Misses  Ellen  and  Mary  O'Leary,  sisters  of 
John  O'Leary;  and  Miss  Catherine  Mulcahy,  sister  of  Dr.  Denis 
Dowling  Mulcahy.  The  committee's  meeting  rooms  were  rented 
from  a  Mrs.  Shaw,  both  of  whose  daughters,  Maria  and  Kate,  were 
ardent  workers  for  the  cause,  although  they  had  no  Fenian 
relatives.  As  I  was  a  prisoner  during  most  of  the  more  important 
activities  of  these  ladies,  I  was  only  familiar  with  the  earlier 
part  of  their  work.  Mrs.  O'Donovan  Rossa  summed  up  their  pro- 
gram thus:  "We  received  orders  from  Headquarters  and  obeyed 

One  of  the  moves  that  Stephens  made  in  preparation  for  the 
fight  that  was  to  have  come  off  in  1865  was  to  bring  a  large 
number  of  men  over  from  England  and  Scotland.  He  sent  mes- 
sengers to  notify  all  those  who  could  afford  to  leave,  that  the 
fight  would  surely  take  place  before  New  Year's  Day,  1866,  and 
the  response  was  very  general.  Stephens  and  Kelly  knew  at  the 
time  how  many  men  came,  but,  as  there  was  no  record  kept,  it 
is  impossible  to  say  now  what  the  number  was.  There  must  have 
been  several  thousand.  My  only  means  of  making  an  estimate 
was  the  information  I  received  from  Colonel  Kelly  that  after  the 
postponement  in  the  last  week  of  December,  1865,  over  400  of 
them  were  put  on  subsistence  money  in  Dublin  alone,  so  that 
they  might  remain  available  when  the  time  for  action  came.  But 



several  hundred  others  returned  to  England,  promising  to  come 
again  when  summoned.  To  prevent  a  large  number  of  others 
coming  over,  messengers  had  to  be  despatched  to  warn  them  of 
the  postponement.  Most  of  the  North  of  England  men  came  to 
Dublin;  the  London  men  went  largely  to  Cork;  but  a  goodly 
number  of  Londoners  were  also  in  Dublin,  while  those  from 
Scotland  mostly  went  to  Belfast,  Derry,  Sligo  and  Galway. 
Many  went  to  their  native  localities  and  remained  until  all  hope 
of  action  had  passed.  Quite  a  number  of  these  men  were  swept 
into  prison  on  the  suspension  of  the  Habeas  Corpus  Act,  but  the 
majority  eventually  found  their  way  back  to  England  and  Scot- 

These  men  from  England  and  Scotland  were  a  sturdy,  stalwart 
lot  and  many  of  them  were  trained,  either  in  the  army,  the  navy, 
the  militia,  or  the  volunteers.  They  were  mostly  young,  unmar- 
ried men,  who,  having  no  family  ties,  having  already  left  their 
homes  and  being,  in  a  sense,  mobilized,  were  ready  for  immediate 
action  and  fit  for  any  work. 

The  Irish  in  Great  Britain  were  at  that  time  even  more  in- 
tensely Irish  than  their  fellow-countrymen  who  had  remained 
at  home.  They  lived  a  life  of  incessant  combat  among  a  people 
who  hated  them,  and  there  was  not  a  man  among  them  who 
had  not  had  several  personal  encounters  with  insolent  English- 
men, while  there  were  many  instances  of  fights  on  a  larger  scale. 
Up  to  that  time  the  Irish  in  England  had  not  gone  very  largely 
into  the  trade  unions  or  the  Liberal  clubs,  in  which  they  are  so 
numerous  and  influential  to-day,  and  they  were  in  the  full  sense 
of  the  term  in  an  enemy's  country.  This  made  them  a  very 
valuable  accession  to  the  Fenian  movement  and  their  contribu- 
tion to  its  fighting  strength  would  have  been  very  important  if 
the  fight  had  started  at  the  time  originally  fixed.  What  they 
might  have  done,  even  in  England,  was  shown  by  the  Raid  on 
Chester  Castle  on  February  11,  1867,  which,  although  a  failure 
and  started  independently  and  prematurely  by  one  man,  not  as 
part  of  a  general  movement,  struck  terror  into  the  heart  of 

At  many  of  the  chief  strategic  points  in  England  there  were 
stationed  at  that  time  Irish  regiments  with  a  fine  Fenian  ele- 
ment, so  that  it  was  possible  to  strike  several  heavy  blows  in  the 
enemy's  country  that  would  have  paralyzed  the  British  army  and 
given  it  ample  work  at  home  while  Ireland  would  be  getting  her 
insurgent  army  into  shape.  When  the  ill-starred  Rising  finally 
took  place,  none  of  this  valuable  fighting  material  was  available 
and  the  partially  disorganized  remnant  of  Fenianism  in  Ireland 
could  get  no  help  from  the  organization  in  England  and  Scotland. 


I  do  not  say  that  an  insurrection  in  1865,  or  during  the  first 
weeks  of  1866,  would  surely  have  been  successful.  All  war  de- 
pends on  a  great  many  things,  and  the  element  of  chance  counts 
for  much.  But  a  fight  at  that  time  would  have  found  Ireland  in 
better  condition  from  a  military  point  of  view  than  she  had  been 
in  for  several  hundred  years  previously  and  England  at  a  greai 
disadvantage.  England  had  underestimated  Fenianism  and  she 
was  very  badly  prepared  for  such  an  emergency.  Her  army  was 
honeycombed  with  Fenianism  and  many  things  that  occurred 
then  showed  that  its  organization  and  administration  were  as 
hopelessly  deficient  and  inefficient  as  the  Boer  War  showed  them 
to  be  thirty-five  years  later.  Under  the  military  leadership  which 
we  then  had  and  with  the  promise  of  some  of  the  ablest  Generals 
in  America  to  join  us  if  we  made  a  good  showing,  there  certainly 
would  have  been  a  war  that  would  have  taxed  England's  resources 
to  the  utmost. 

Several  distinguished  American  Generals,  both  Federal  and 
Confederate,  were  openly  in  sympathy  with  Fenianism  and  the 
whole  people  of  the  North  were  angry  with  England  on  account 
of  the  undisguised  help  she  had  given  to  the  South,  while  the 
Confederates  knew  that  such  help  as  she  had  given  their  cause 
was  not  based  on  any  love  for  them,  but  had  for  its  sole  object 
the  smashing  of  the  great  Republic  of  the  West.  General  Nelson 
A.  Miles,  one  of  the  men  who  won  distinction  in  the  Civil  War 
and  who  later  was  the  ranking  General  of  the  United  States 
Army,  wrote  a  series  of  magazine  articles  giving  his  recollections 
of  the  great  struggle,  in  one  of  which  he  laid  strong  emphasis 
on  this  feeling  against  England.  The  article  was  published  in 
the  Cosmopolitan  for  March,  1911,  and  on  this  subject  General 
Miles  says: 

"The  end  of  the  war  found  the  North  burdened  with  a 
colossal  debt  and  grave  international  complications  looming 
up.  Our  commerce  had  been  swept  from  the  seas  by  ships 
built  in  British  shipyards,  manned  by  British  seamen  and 
commissioned  and  officered  by  the  Confederacy.  The  soil  of 
Canada  had  been  used  as  a  safe  refuge  and  rendezvous  for 
conspiracies  against  the  Government.  A  French  army  had 
been  landed  in  Mexico,  which  overran  that  territory,  took 
possession  of  its  capital,  and  established  an  imperial  Govern- 
ment in  place  of  the  republic.  Many  of  the  strongest  states- 
men and  ablest  Generals  were  in  favor  of  forming  two  great 
armies  of  the  veterans,  composed  from  both  the  Union  and 
Confederate  armies,  and  marching  one  to  Montreal  and  the 
other  to  the  City  of  Mexico.  Had  this  action  been  taken,  no 
one  could  have  foretold  the  result,  especially  affecting  our 
territory,  sea  power  and  commerce,  or  the  destiny  of  the  great 
Republic.  It  would  have  solved  some  problems  that  will  yet 
vex  the  American  people.  Our  people  had,  however,  seen  so 
much  of  war,  with  its  horrors  and  devastation,  that  they 
dreaded  the  thought  of  increased  carnage  and  were  more 
anxious  for  peace  than  for  all  else." 



It  is  impossible  to  believe  that  this  project  would  have  been 
abandoned  if  the  insurrection  had  broken  out  in  Ireland  at  that 
time — the  end  of  1865  or  the  beginning  of  1866.  It  would,  there- 
fore, have  in  all  probability  brought  about  war  between  the 
United  States  and  England,  which,  whatever  other  results  it 
might  have  had,  would  certainly  have  ended  in  the  annexation 
of  Canada.  There  would  have  been  no  difficulty  in  raising  an 
American  army  of  1,000,000  veterans,  if  that  number  were  needed, 
and  England  could  not  at  that  time  have  put  100,000  trained  men 
in  the  field.  The  United  States  had  also  a  splendid  fighting  navy, 
numerically  inferior  to  the  English,  but  much  more  efficient. 

At  least  200,000  of  these  veterans  were  Irish  and  the  spirit 
of  Fenianism  animated  them  all.  One  of  the  three  great  Generals 
of  the  Union  army,  Philip  E.  Sheridan,  was  intensely  Irish  and 
there  is  no  doubt  that  he  had  placed  his  services  at  the  disposal 
of  the  Fenians  on  very  reasonable  conditions.  He  stipulated 
that  if  they  supplied  him  with  30,000  trained  men,  properly 
armed  and  equipped,  he  would  take  command.  While  this  agree- 
ment referred  to  Canada,  an  invasion  on  such  a  large  scale,  with 
a  great  Union  General  in  command,  would  certainly  have  precipi- 
tated war  between  the  United  States  and  England.  And  the  news 
of  Phil  Sheridan  leading  a  Fenian  army  would  have  caused 
thousands  of  veteran  officers,  from  both  sides  of  the  Mason  and 
Dixon  Line,  to  offer  their  services  and  the  great  army  of  which 
General  Miles  writes  would  have  been  easily  organized.  England 
had  not  then,  nor  has  she  had  since,  any  General  fit  to  cope  with 
Sheridan,  that  great  Irish-American  soldier. 

But  Fenianism  was  split  into  two  factions  in  America  and  the 
30,000  men,  fully  armed  and  equipped,  could  not  be  had,  not 
because  they  were  not  available,  but  on  account  of  lack  of  money 
and  the  paralyzing  effect  of  the  Split. 

The  one  thing  that  would  have  instantly  healed  the  Split  and 
forced  both  factions  to  unite  would  have  been  the  successful 
start  of  a  fight  in  Ireland.  Then  all  the  money  and  all  the  arms 
needed  would  have  been  forthcoming  and  new  and  competent 
leadership  would  have  been  evolved. 

When  the  first  Raid  on  Canada  took  place  in  June,  1866,  a 
force  of  United  States  troops  was  sent  to  the  border,  under  com- 
mand of  General  Meade,  to  enforce  neutrality.  The  victor  of 
Gettysburg  was  of  Irish  descent,  sympathized  with  Fenianism  and 
shared  the  feeling  of  hostility  to  England  that  was  then  universal 
in  the  Northern  States.  When  the  temporarily  victorious  Fenians 
were  obliged  to  retreat  for  lack  of  supplies  and  reinforcements, 
General  Meade  remarked  to  a  friend:   "Well  I  gave  them  all  the 



time  they  needed,  if  they  knew  their  business."  This  was  the 
spirit  of  the  whole  American  army  at  the  time.  The  soldiers 
along  the  border  were  in  open  sympathy  with  the  Fenians  and 
ready  to  desert  to  them  by  wholesale. 

The  veterans  of  the  Civil  War  in  America  and  the  Irishmen 
in  the  British  army  would  have  provided  Ireland  with  the  finest 
fighting  force  in  all  her  history.  The  thing  needed  to  utilize 
this  splendid  material  was  a  united  organization,  ably  and  wisely 
led.  This  essential,  Fenianism  lacked,  but  that  lack  would  have 
been  in  part  supplied  if  Stephens  had  accepted  the  advice  of  the 
American  officers  in  December,  1865.  There  was  plenty  of  ability 
in  the  organization  and  the  fight  would  have  brought  it  to  the 



Denounced  from  Almost  Every  Altar  in  Ireland  Except  in  Two 
Dioceses — Ban  Put  Members  to  a  Severe  Test,  but  Failed  to 
Check  Movement — Begun  by  Cardinal  Cullen  and  Fomented 
by  an  English  Clique  in  Rome. 

The  hardest  test  the  Fenians  had  to  face  was  the  hostility  of 
the  authorities  of  the  Catholic  Church.  It  was  based  ostensibly 
on  the  oath,  but  there  was  overwhelming  evidence  that  Cardinal 
Cullen,  who  was  mainly  responsible  for  it,  was  opposed  to  the 
Independence  of  Ireland — the  object  of  the  organization.  He 
would  have  opposed  the  movement,  even  if  the  oath  were 
dropped.  He  had  bitterly  opposed  the  Tenant  League  in  the  early 
'Fifties,  although  it  only  sought  reform  of  the  Land  Laws  by 
peaceful  methods,  and  was  mild  compared  with  the  Land  League 
of  later  days  which  was  supported  by  Archbishop  Croke  of  Cashel 
and  several  other  Bishops.  His  father,  Garret  Cullen,  was  a  Kil- 
dare  farmer,  who  had  been  a  United  Irishman  and  a  leader  of 
Rebels  in  the  Insurrection  of  1798.  My  grandfather  walked 
twenty  miles  each  way  to  attend  his  funeral  and  men  thronged 
from  all  parts  of  the  county  to  pay  their  last  tribute  of  respect 
to  the  dead  Rebel.  But  the  future  Cardinal  was  sent  to  Rome 
when  a  boy  and  was  thirty-five  years  out  of  Ireland.  He  was  in 
Rome  in  1848,  when  he  developed  a  horror  of  Revolutionists  and 
never  could  get  over  the  idea  that  the  Fenians  were  allied  with 
the  Carbonari.  There  was  no  basis  whatever  for  the  theory,  but 
he  assumed  that  there  was  and  acted  on  the  assumption  that  it 
was  an  undeniable  fact.  The  Fenians  had  no  connection  what- 
ever with  any  movement  outside  of  Ireland  except  the  Fenian 
Brotherhood  in  America,  which  was  composed  entirely  of  Irish- 
men and  had  only  one  object,  the  Independence  of  Ireland. 

Dr.  Cullen  based  his  assumption  of  an  alliance  with  the  Car- 
bonari on  the  fact  that  James  Stephens  while  a  refugee  in  Paris 
had  fought  at  the  barricades  in  the  Red  resistance  to  Louis 
Napoleon's  Coup  d'etat  in  1851,  and  claimed  that  he  was  an 
enrolled  member  of  the  Communist  Party.  Even  if  he  were,  he 
never  tried  to  convert  the  Fenians  to  Communism,  and  his  chief 
lieutenants,  O'Leary,  Luby  and  Kickham,  wore  most  conservative 
men.  But  the  Cardinal  stuck  to  his  theory  to  the  last  and  waged 
unrelenting  war  on  the  organization. 




The  oath  was  wholly  unnecessary  and  did  not  prevent  men 
from  turning  informer,  while  it  kept  many  good  Nationalists  from 
joining  the  organization.  In  America  there  was  no  oath,  only  a 
pledge  of  honor,  but  Bishop  Duggan  of  Chicago  denounced 
the  organization  as  strongly  as  Cardinal  Cullen  did  in  Ireland.  A 
committee  waited  on  the  Bishop  and  asked  him  what  they  could 
do  to  make  the  organization  harmonize  with  the  Church  and  he 
answered:  "Give  up  your  object."  The  committee  replied:  "But 
our  object  is  the  Independence  of  Ireland,"  and  his  answer  was: 
"I  have  said  you  must  give  it  up."  That  ended  the  interview.  He 
had  given  accurate  expression  to  Cardinal  Cullen's  attitude  to- 
wards Fenianism. 

The  members  were  refused  absolution  when  they  went  to  con- 
fession unless  they  promised  to  give  up  the  organization,  and 
many  thousands  of  them  refused.  The  form  of  the  question 
asked  by  the  priest  was:  "Did  you  take  the  Fenian  oath?"  It 
never  was:  "Are  you  a  member  of  the  Fenian  organization?" 
Many  men  availed  themselves  of  this  to  evade  trouble.  One 
fellow  in  Athboy,  County  Meath  (who  later  became  prominent  in 
the  Hibernian  organization  in  New  York) ,  found  the  oath  in  the 
reports  of  the  Fenian  trials  and  administered  it  to  several  men 
without  taking  it  himself.  This  enabled  him  to  say  "No"  when 
the  priest  asked,  "Did  you  take  the  Fenian  oath?"  When  he  came 
up  to  Dublin  to  seek  recognition  from  Stephens  he  was  headed 
off  by  James  Pallas  (who  later  was  very  active  in  the  Clan-na- 
Gael  and  the  Land  League  in  New  York,  and  was  then  a  young 
school  teacher  in  Kildalkey  and  Centre  for  the  Athboy  district) , 
and  prevented  from  getting  into  the  organization  by  fraud. 
There  were  several  other  similar  cases. 

Archbishop  MacHale  of  Tuam — "the  Lion  of  the  Fold  of 
Judah" — and  Bishop  Keane  of  Cloyne  refused  to  allow  their 
priests  to  carry  out  this  plan,  and  when  a  Papal  Rescript  con- 
demning the  organization  was  issued  it  was  not  promulgated  in 
either  Diocese.  This  encouraged  the  members  in  their  resistance, 
and  largely  counteracted  the  effect  of  the  Cardinal's  hostility. 
Skibbereen  is  in  the  Diocese  of  Ross,  where  Bishop  O'Hea  was  a 
bitter  enemy  of  the  organization,  but  the  men  had  only  to  cross 
a  small  stream  to  get  into  the  Diocese  of  Cloyne,  and  they  went 
by  the  score  at  Christmas  and  Easter  and  got  absolution  from  a 
Cloyne  priest.  In  Dublin  at  that  time  the  Jesuits  did  not  enforce 
the  rule  and  men  from  the  other  parishes  had  only  to  go  to 
Gardiner  Street  Church  to  get  the  sacraments  denied  them  in 
their  own. 

But  in  ninety  per  cent,  of  the  cases  it  was  a  flat  denial  of  the 
right  of  the  priest  to  ask  the  question  and  to  bring  politics  into 



the  confessional.  The  Fenians  were  accused  of  being  anti- 
clerical, but  it  was  the  Clericals  who  were  anti-Fenian.  And,  there 
can  be  no  doubt  that  the  constant  controversies  and  the  con- 
tinued altar  denunciations  were  fast  developing  an  anti-clerical 
feeling  and  several  Fenians  were  temporarily  estranged  from  the 
Church.  The  ominous  cry  of  "No  priests  in  politics"  was  heard 
everywhere.  Had  the  fight  continued  there  can  hardly  be  any 
doubt  that  it  would  have  resulted  eventually  in  an  anti-clerical 
movement  in  Ireland.  But  the  fight  was  begun  by  the  Church 
authorities  on  charges  that  had  no  foundation  and  was  forced 
on  the  Fenians.  Some  of  the  altar  denunciations  were  very 
unjust  in  their  statements  and  were  invariably  followed  by  in- 
creased police  activities.  One  priest  in  Belfast  accused  Luby, 
of  whom  he  knew  nothing,  and  who  was  a  most  devoted  husband, 
of  living  with  the  wife  of  another  man,  and  the  Carbonari  myth 
was  constantly  flung  at  us.  Several  priests  were  members  of  the 
organization,  but  they  were  mostly  young  curates,  whose  brothers 
or  other  near  relatives  belonged  to  it.  The  Parish  Priests  were 
almost  unanimous  in  their  opposition  to  us,  even  in  cases  where 
they  had  been  in  the  Young  Ireland  Movement. 

The  most  notable  instance  of  this  was  Bishop  Moriarty  of 
Kerry  who  said  "Hell  is  not  hot  enough  nor  eternity  long  enough 
to  punish  the  Fenians".  Gavan  Duffy  said  that  he  was  all  right 
in  1848  and  the  Bishop  himself  defined  his  attitude  in  a  public 
speech  thus:  "When  I  speak  to  you  from  the  pulpit  or  in  a 
Pastoral  I  speak  as  your  Bishop,  but  here  on  this  platform  I'm 
plain  David  Moriarty", — which  caused  one  enthusiast  in  the 
audience  to  shout:   "You're  our  Bishop  if  you  were  boilt." 

There  were  some  comic  features  in  the  controversy,  as  there 
are  in  everything  in  Ireland.  In  Cork,  a  Blackpool  boy — where 
they  said  "dis"  and  "dat" — went  to  confession  and  when  the 
priest  asked  him  if  he  had  taken  the  Fenian  oath  he  said:  "I 
did,  but  what  has  dat  to  do  wid  me  confession?"  The  priest 
answered:  "Tis  an  illegal  society,"  and  "de  boy  from  the  Pool" 
replied:  "Yerra,  what  does  I  care  about  deir  illaigal?  I  tinks 
more  o'  me  sowl." 

His  theology  was  better  than  the  priest's.  It  was  illegal  at 
one  time  in  Ireland  to  go  to  Mass,  and  if  Lord  John  Russell's 
Ecclesiastical  Titles  Bill  were  in  force  it  would  be  illegal  for  a 
Bishop  to  attach  the  cross  to  his  signature  to  a  Pastoral.  The 
young  fellow  himself  told  the  story  to  Charles  Underwood 
O'Connell,  with  evident  pride  in  his  smart  answer. 

John  F.  Scanlan  (brother  of  Michael,  the  poet  of  American 
Fenianism)  told  me  of  an  incident  that  occurred  in  Chicago 
while  Bishop  Duggan  was  attacking  the  Fenians.   There  was  a 



man  from  his  own  part  of  Limerick  who  spoke  with  a  strong 
brogue  and  who  asked  him  every  time  he  met  him  on  the  street: 
"How  is  the  Cause?"  One  day  Scanlan  said  to  him:  "Why  don't 
you  join  the  organization  and  do  something  to  help  the  Cause?" 

"Because  I  couldn't  go  to  my  duty  if  I  did,"  he  replied. 

"Might  I  ask  how  long  is  it  since  you  went  to  your  duty?" 
asked  Scanlan. 

The  man  put  his  finger  to  his  jaw  reflectively  and  repeated 
the  question:  "How  long  is  it  since  I  wint  to  my  duty?  Well, 
now,  let  me  see.  Well,  to  the  best  of  my  recollection,  it's  about 
forty  years.  But,  you  see,  Misther  Scanlan,  if  I  wanted  to  go  to 
my  duty  I  wouldn't  want  to  have  anything  shtand  in  the  way." 

A  public  controversy  on  the  subject  was  carried  on  in  the 
Irish  People,  in  which  the  hostile  priests  were  called  "felon- 
setters"  and  some  of  the  letters  pointed  out  that  they  were  in- 
citing the  police  to  increased  activity.  That  was  undoubtedly 
true.  My  own  Parish  Priest,  Father  Hughes  of  Naas,  only  de- 
nounced the  organization  once,  and  the  Peelers,  who  were  all 
Catholics  except  Head  Constable  Hogg  and  Sergeant  Johnson, 
knew  all  of  us  and  stared  at  us  while  he  informed  them  that  an 
illegal  society  existed  in  the  parish.  That  night  they  followed 
our  men  everywhere  they  went.  He  based  his  denunciation  on  a 
letter  of  Cardinal  Barnabo  (which  was  not  official,  but  was  pub- 
lished) in  which  the  statement  was  made  that  the  Pope  had 
condemned  Fenianism.  I  wrote  a  letter  to  the  Irish  People  in 
which  I  stressed  the  activities  of  the  Peelers  on  that  Sunday 
evening  and  said  that  the  Pope  was  misinformed  by  the  English 
Catholic  clique  in  Rome,  and  added  that  an  Irish  shoemaker  was 
a  better  judge  of  Irish  politics  than  his  Holiness.  The  letter 
appeared  in  the  suppressed  number,  but  the  country  edition  had 
been  sent  off  before  the  seizure  and  I  sent  copies  of  the  paper  to 
Father  Hughes  and  Sub-Inspector  Irwin. 

Next  morning  Father  Hughes  called  on  me  at  8  o'clock,  a  few 
minutes  before  the  mail  car  brought  the  Dublin  papers  contain- 
ing the  report  of  the  Irish  People's  suppression.  I  had  not  signed 
the  letter,  but  Father  Hughes  told  me  he  knew  that  it  was  I  who 
wrote  it,  because  I  was  the  only  man  in  the  town  capable  of 
doing  so.  I  admitted  I  was  the  writer  and  defended  my  action. 
He  said  he  did  not  come  to  argue  with  me  and  I  said:  "But  you 
are  arguing,  Father  Hughes,  and  I  insist  on  my  right  to  answer 
you."  He  was  particularly  worked  up  over  my  statement  about 
the  Irish  shoemaker,  which  I  defended.  I  had  concluded  the 
letter  with  this  statement — a  sort  of  olive  branch:  "Altar  denun- 
ciations have  failed  elsewhere  and  it  is  to  be  hoped  that  Father 



Hughes,  who  has  hitherto  refrained  from  denouncing  the  move- 
ment, will  not  again  make  the  altar  an  instrument  of  political 
controversy."  This  seemed  to  please  him  and  he  said:  "I  have 
up  till  now  kept  my  parish  free  from  this  trouble  and  you  will 
hear  no  more  of  it,"  but  he  added,  pointing  to  four  tall  poplar 
trees  in  the  garden  in  front  of  the  house:  "But  those  unfor- 
tunate men  will  hang  as  high  as  those  trees — and  they  deserve 
it."  With  that  he  took  his  departure.  He  was  a  dyed-in-the-wool 
West  Briton,  whose  father  was  a  gombeen  man  in  Carlow,  who 
left  him  £20,000,  which  he  invested  in  the  Government  Funds, 
and  he  was  the  landlord  of  the  premises  on  which  I  worked.  He 
did  not  like  being  attacked  in  print  and  his  statement  was  a 

In  a  few  minutes  the  mail  cars  drove  in  and  the  Freeman 
contained  the  report  of  the  seizure  of  the  Irish  People.  I  am 
convinced  that  if  Father  Hughes  had  read  it  he  would  not  have 
made  the  promise.  But  he  kept  it. 

When  I  was  arrested  his  servant  girl  told  her  sister,  who  was 
the  wife  of  one  of  the  draymen  where  I  worked,  that  he  clasped 
his  hands  and  turning  his  eyes  up  to  Heaven  said:  "Thank  God, 
a  firebrand  is  removed  from  amongst  us."  (That  did  not  pre- 
vent him,  however,  from  sending  me  his  congratulations  many 
years  afterwards,  through  a  returned  visitor  to  Naas,  on  my 
securing  a  position  on  the  New  York  Herald.  He  didn't  know  I 
had  heard  his  other  statement) . 

That  incident  illustrates  the  conditions  existing  in  Ireland 
at  the  time.  My  personal  experience  later  gives  a  further  illus- 

Father  Cody,  the  Chaplain  of  Mount  joy  Prison,  was  a  very 
zealous  priest  and  a  very  likable  man,  but  by  no  means  bright — a 
great  contrast  to  Father  Potter,  who  replaced  him  during  his 
vacations.  His  sermons  were  mere  instructions  on  the  catechism 
and  when  making  his  rounds  of  the  cells  he  always  carried  a 
handful  of  devotional  books,  which  had  no  attraction  for  the 
ordinary  convicts — "The  Poor  Man's  Catechism",  "Think  Well  On 
It",  St.  Alphonsus  Liguori's  Works,  or  "Hell  Open  to  Sinners" — 
never  anything  cheerful  or  interesting.  He  could  not  argue  at  all. 
He  and  I  were  on  the  best  of  terms,  but  we  never  discussed  Irish 

One  day  he  said  to  me:  "Why  don't  you  go  to  confession?" 
and  I  answered:  "Sure,  there  would  be  no  use  because  you'd  ask 
me  a  question  that  I  don't  admit  your  right  to  ask." 

He  turned  his  face  away,  prodded  the  door  with  his  big  key 
and  said:  "Oh,  I've  nothing  to  do  with  your  politics;  I've  nothing 



to  do  with  your  politics."  I  took  this  as  a  promise  that  he  would 
not  ask  me  if  I  had  taken  the  Fenian  oath,  and  we  arranged 
a  day  on  which  I  would  go  to  confession  to  him. 

When  I  had  finished  my  long  story— it  was  five  years  old— 
for  I  knew  there  was  no  use  in  going  to  Father  Hughes  and  he 
never  said  a  word  to  me  about  confession,  though  I  met  him 
almost  every  day  in  the  reading  room  of  the  Catholic  Institute — 
Father  Cody  asked  me:  "Did  you  take  the  Fenian  oath?" 

I  answered:  "I  thought  you  promised  not  to  ask  me  that 

"Oh,  I  have  to  ask  it,"  he  said,  "it's  the  rule  of  the  Diocese." 

I  reminded  him  that  he  belonged  to  one  of  the  orders  and  was 
not  subject  to  the  jurisdiction  of  Archbishop  Cullen.  He  told 
me  he  was  and  we  proceeded  to  argue  the  question,  if  I  may  call 
what  he  said  arguments.  I  refused  to  submit  and  we  fixed 
another  day  for  him  to  come  again.  This  was  repeated  five  times 
and  on  the  fifth  day  I  stood  up  and  said:  "Father  Cody,  I  won't 
argue  politics  on  my  knees  any  more." 

After  I  was  convicted,  Father  Potter  was  in  Father  Cody's 
place  and  told  me  all  the  news.  One  day  he  asked  me  about  go- 
ing to  confession.  I  told  him  of  my  experience  with  Father  Cody 
and  he  said:  "You  can  trust  me." 

I  replied  that  I  would  trust  him  and  we  arranged  a  date  for 
my  confession.  When  I  was  through  he  asked:  "Did  you  take  the 
Fenian  oath?"  I  replied  that  I  did  and  he  then  asked:  "When 
you  took  the  oath  did  you  believe  you  were  committing  a  sin?" 
I  said:  "I  did  not,  but,  on  the  contrary,  was  doing  my  duty  to 

"Have  you  ever  had  any  scruples  of  conscience  since  about 
taking  it?"  I  told  him  I  hadn't  and  he  said:  "Make  an  act  of 
contrition",  and  gave  me  absolution.  I  passed  the  word  along 
to  the  other  men  and  they  all  went  to  confession  and  we  all  went 
to  communion  on  our  last  Sunday  in  Mountjoy.  We  fondly  hoped 
that  this  ended  our  trouble,  but  we  were  soon  undeceived. 

When  we  got  to  Millbank  we  found  Father  Zanetti,  a  Jesuit, 
whose  father  was  Italian  and  his  mother  English,  as  Chaplain. 
He  had  been  Chaplain  in  Pentonville  while  the  first  group  of 
prisoners  were  there  and  he  had  had  long  arguments  with  Kick- 
ham,  Tom  Bourke  and  Mulcahy,  who  were  more  than  a  match  for 
him,  though  he  was  a  very  clever  man,  an,d  he  evidently  resented 
it.  We  went  to  him  shortly  after  our  arrival  and  told  him  we 
had  been  at  communion  in  Dublin,  but  he  insisted  on  our  mak- 
ing a  general  confession  and  the  trouble  started  all  over  again. 



Going  behind  the  action  of  the  Irish  priest,  he  asked  us  if  we  had 
taken  the  Fenian  oath  and  refused  us  absolution  unless  we  gave 
it  up.  Some  of  the  men  yielded,  but  most  of  us  refused.  He 
visited  us  in  our  cells,  and  we  chatted  freely  with  him,  but  I 
never  exchanged  another  word  with  him  about  Fenianism.  He 
told  me  a  story  about  Cardinal  Manning  (not  then  a  Cardinal) 
giving  permission  to  eat  meat  an  Fridays  and  fast  days  and  one 
Irishman  asked  another  coming  out  of  the  church  what  he 
thought  of  it.  "Oh,  what  can  you  expect?"  said  the  other,  "when 
we  have  a  Protestant  for  an  Archbishop?"  With  some  Irishmen, 
eating  meat  on  Fridays  is  worse  than  committing  murder. 

When  we  were  removed  to  Portland  after  ten  months  in  Mill- 
bank  we  found  the  Chaplain  was  named  Poole,  descended  from 
a  brother  of  Cardinal  Poole  of  Henry  the  Eighth's  time,  a  nice, 
kindly  little  man.  He  was  overmatched  in  argument  by  some  of 
the  Fenians  and  all  of  them  had  refused  to  give  up  the  oath. 
When  we  told  him  about  our  experiences  in  Dublin  and  Millbank, 
he  seemed  glad  to  be  relieved  of  the  trouble  and  told  us  he  would 
not  ask  us  to  make  a  general  confession.  So  I  went  to  confes- 
sion and  received  communion  twice  during  my  twelve  weeks  in 

But  I  was  not  yet  through  with  Father  Zanetti.  I  was  sent 
back  to  Millbank  with  John  McClure  and  others  for  taking  part 
in  a  strike  in  sympathy  with  McClure,  who  was  put  on  bread 
and  water  for  "idleness"  when  his  hands  were  covered  with  blis- 
ters from  handling  the  pick  with  which  we  worked  cutting  Port- 
land stone.  I  went  to  confession  and  told  Father  Zanetti  I  had 
received  absolution  in  Portland,  but  he  found  another  way  of 
getting  around  it.  During  my  previous  stay  in  Millbank — before 
my  last  confession — I  had  made  an  attempt  to  escape  and  had 
hurt  a  warder  in  the  struggle  for  possession  of  his  keys,  for 
which  I  was  very  sorry,  as  he  was  a  harmless  poor  fellow  who 
later  told  me  he  made  allowance  for  my  state  of  mind  and  had 
no  hard  feelings  against  me.  When  I  had  finished  my  tale  of 
sin  Father  Zanetti  said  to  me:  "You  used  violence  in  attempting 
to  escape."  I  told  him  I  was  a  prisoner  of  war,  held  by  a  Gov- 
ernment which  had  no  right  whatever  in  Ireland,  and  that  I 
was  justified  in  using  any  means  in  trying  to  escape. 

Then  followed  a  long  argument,  in  which  Father  Zanetti 
quibbled  a  lot.  I  reminded  him  that  the  warders  carried  heavy 
oak  clubs  and  that  the  Civil  Guard,  who  carried  carbines,  had 
orders  to  shoot  a  prisoner  if  they  could  not  prevent  his  escape 
in  any  other  way  and  that  this  justified  me  in  using  violence. 

"Ah,"  said  Father  Zanetti,  "if  he  had  his  carbine  levelled 
and  was  about  to  shoot,  you  would  be  justified  in  knocking  it 



out  of  his  hand  or  striking  him."  "Then  it  would  be  too  late,"  I 
replied,  and  added:  "Do  you  mean  to  tell  me  that  God  Almighty 
would  split  hairs  as  to  whether  I  struck  the  man  with  a  carbine  a 
second  before  or  a  second  after  he  had  levelled  it  at  me?" 

The  argument  went  on  in  this  way  for  a  long  time,  and  at 
length  Father  Zanetti  said:  "I  am  an  officer  of  the  prison  and 
it  is  my  duty  to  see  the  rules  enforced." 

Then  I  stood  up  and  said:  "Father  Zanetti,  I  came  to  you  as 
a  priest  of  the  Catholic  Church.  I  don't  make  any  confessions 
to  an  officer  of  an  English  prison."  That  was  the  end  of  the 
confession  and  it  was  a  very  long  time  before  I  went  to  con- 
fession again.  But  Father  Zanetti  remained  on  good  terms  with 
me  and  often  came  to  see  me  in  my  cell.  I  was  very  much  sur- 
prised when  Arthur  O'Connor,  M.  P.,  who  was  an  active  church 
worker  in  London,  and  often  met  him,  told  me  in  New  York  that 
Father  Zanetti  spoke  highly  of  me  and  of  Thomas  Francis  Bourke, 
while  he  disparaged  O'Donovan  Rossa. 

Times  have  changed,  and  there  is  no  change  more  significant 
than  the  attitude  of  Irish  Bishops  towards  the  National  Cause. 
From  the  day  of  the  appointment  of  Archbishop  Richardson  to 
the  See  of  Armagh  they  had  been  hostile  to  the  advanced 
National  Movement.  He  was  President  of  the  College  of  Valla- 
dolid  in  Spain  during  the  Peninsular  War  and  had  given  very 
effective  help  to  Wellington,  which,  I  believe,  he  justified  on  the 
ground  of  Napoleon's  bad  treatment  of  the  Pope.  After  his  ap- 
pointment as  Archbishop  of  Armagh  he  continued  to  be  strongly 
pro-English  and  he  nullified  Daniel  O'Connell's  opposition  to  the 
demand  of  the  English  Government  for  the  right  to  exercise  a 
Veto  on  the  appointment  of  Irish  Bishops,  by  agreeing  that  the 
Bishops  should  give  a  pledge  of  "Loyalty  to  the  King  of  the  Brit- 
ish Empire".  From  that  day  on  the  clergy  of  a  Diocese  on  the 
death  of  a  Bishop  named  three  men:  one,  Dignissimus  (the  first 
choice) ,  another,  Dignior,  and  a  third,  Dignus,  and  sent  them  to 
Rome.  During  the  Pontificate  of  Pius  the  Ninth — Pio  Nono, — the 
three  names  selected  by  the  clergy  were  usually  ignored  unless 
some  one  of  them  had  a  strong  pro-British  leaning.  If  none  of 
the  three  was  of  this  type,  some  other  man  saturated  with  anti- 
National  feeling  was  appointed.  This  naturally  had  a  marked 
effect  on  the  Irish  clergy.  It  was  a  plain  intimation  that  priests 
of  pronounced  Nationalist  opinions  had  no  chance  of  promotion. 

The  most  notable  instance  of  this  was  Archbishop  Croke.  Born 
in  the  Diocese  of  Cloyne,  he  was  a  titular  Bishop  in  Auckland, 
but  was  on  a  visit  to  Ireland  when  Bishop  Keane  of  Cloyne  died. 
He  was  named  Dignissimus  at  the  meeting  of  the  clergy  of  the 



Diocese,  but  was  cast  aside  and  a  Loyal  West  Briton  appointed  to 
succeed  the  Nationalist  Dr.  Keane.  He  then  went  to  Rome  and 
rumor  said,  "made  his  peace".  As  he  was  about  to  return  to  New 
Zealand,  Archbishop  Leahy  of  Cashel  died  and,  without  being 
named  by  the  clergy  of  the  Archdiocese,  he  was  appointed  to 
succeed  Dr.  Leahy.  The  rumor  that  he  had  "made  his  peace" 
seemed  to  be  partly  verified  by  his  speech  at  the  O'Connell  Cen- 
tenary that  same  year,  which  was  in  marked  contrast  with  his 
former  utterances.  He  lauded  the  British  Constitution,  but 
expressed  regret  that  Ireland  did  not  get  her  share  of  its  benefits. 

The  change  in  the  attitude  of  the  Bishops  began  to  be  noted, 
especially  in  the  case  of  the  younger  men,  after  the  heroic  sacri- 
fice of  Easter  Week,  1916  (which  had  a  marked  effect  on  the 
whole  race) .  It  has  continued  steadily  ever  since.  It  was 
given  a  strong  impetus  by  the  speech  of  Cardinal  O'Connell  at 
Madison  Square  Garden,  New  York,  in  1918.  He  did  not  commit 
himself  definitely  to  the  Republican  Movement,  but  the  implica- 
tions of  his  speech  to  a  cheering  throng  of  Irish  Republicans 
in  a  hall  profusely  decorated  with  the  Green,  White  and  Orange 
Tricolor  of  the  Republic  were  all  in  justification  of  the  demand 
for  it. 

It  was  the  first  time  that  a  Prince  of  the  Church  had  appeared 
at  such  a  meeting  and  given  his  adhesion  to  the  movement  for 
the  Complete  Independence  of  Ireland.  Cardinal  O'Connell  blazed 
the  way  and  others  soon  followed. 

At  the  great  Convention  in  Philadelphia  on  Washington's 
Birthday,  1919 — the  greatest  and  most  representative  gathering 
of  Irishmen  ever  held  anywhere — Cardinal  Gibbons,  who  had  up 
to  then  opposed  the  advanced  movement  (but  had  never  attacked 
it)  stood  in  his  purple  robes,  with  twenty-eight  Bishops  fresh 
from  a  meeting  in  Washington  sitting  around  him,  and  gave  his 
blessing  to  the  movement  which  Cardinal  Cullen  had  anathema- 
tized and  which  Pius  IX  had  condemned  in  a  Rescript.  As  I 
stood  behind  the  venerable  Cardinal,  noting  the  evidence  of  the 
tremendous  change,  my  mind  went  back  to  the  days  when  we 
were  cursed  from  nearly  every  altar  in  Ireland  and  I  nearly  broke 
down.  No  other  such  revolutionary  change  had  occurred  in  my 

And  yet  there  were  some  well  meaning,  but  shortsighted 
Irishmen,  under  the  evil  influence  of  a  cold  blooded  cynic,  who 
opposed  and  tried  to  frustrate  the  steps  leading  up  to  that  splen- 
did spectacle.  They  were  told  that  inviting  Cardinal  O'Connell 
to  Madison  Square  Garden  would  give  a  sectarian  character 
to  the  meeting,  would  antagonize  Protestant  Ulster  and  produce 



a  bad  effect  in  Infidel  France  and  Atheist  Italy,  and  give  the 
movement  a  setback.  But  we  went  ahead,  knowing  that  the 
chief  thing  needed  was  the  Unity  of  the  Race  on  a  reasonable  and 
progressive  policy  and  the  breaking  down  of  the  English  Propa- 
ganda in  America.  That  Unity  could  be  best  secured  and  the 
world  convinced  of  our  strength  by  aligning  the  Hierarchy  on 
our  side. 

In  describing  Fenianism  to  Sir  Horace  Plunkett  at  a  dinner 
in  the  house  of  Justice  Martin  J.  Keogh  in  New  Rochelle  some 
years  ago,  I  said:  "We'd  have  beaten  the  Bishops  only  for  the 
English  Government,  and  we'd  have  beaten  the  English  Govern- 
ment but  for  the  Bishops,  but  a  combination  of  the  two  was  too 
much  for  us."  That  was  really  what  the  Fenians  had  to  face. 

It  is  sincerely  to  be  hoped  that  in  the  future  progress  of 
Ireland  towards  complete  National  Independence — which  con- 
notes the  severance  of  every  remaining  political  link  with  the 
British  Empire — the  bishops  and  priests  of  the  Catholic  Church 
in  Ireland  will  be  found  solidly  arrayed  behind  their  people  in  the 
endeavor  to  attain  the  inevitable  goal  of  the  Irish  Nation. 



Element  of  the  Movement  Most  Dangerous  to  England — Impor- 
tance of  the  Trained  Man  in  Irish  Insurrections — Fenian 
Soldiers  in  British  Service  Remained  Loyal  to  the  Organi- 
zation With  Very  Few  Exceptions. 

The  element  of  Fenianism  which  gave  the  movement  its 
greatest  hope  of  success  from  the  military  point  of  view,  and 
made  it  most  dangerous  to  England,  was  the  organization  in  the 
British  army.  Properly  utilized  it  would  have  supplied  Ireland 
with  a  large  body  of  trained  fighting  men  and  correspondingly 
weakened  and  demoralized  the  forces  of  the  enemy  at  the  very 
outset  of  the  contemplated  insurrection. 

In  1865  and  the  beginning  of  1866  that  organization  was  still 
intact  and  could  have  been  used  to  deal  England  a  decisive  blow. 
It  would  have  supplied  the  nucleus  of  a  trained  army,  under  con- 
ditions more  favorable  to  Ireland  than  had  ever  existed  since  the 
Anglo-Norman  invasion.  It  was  not  utilized,  and  when,  after 
many  postponements,  the  shattered  and  broken  movement  under- 
took to  strike,  the  organization  in  the  army  was  gone,  its  best 
men  were  in  prison  and  the  disaffected  regiments  scattered  all 
over  the  British  Empire. 

Irish  insurrections  in  the  past  had  all  failed  because  of  lack 
of  the  essentials  of  military  success — trained  men,  educated  offi- 
cers, arms  and  ammunition.  In  1848  there  were  neither  arms, 
ammunition,  trained  men,  officers  nor  organization,  and  the  at- 
tempt at  rebellion  was  doomed  to  ignominious  failure  from  the 
start.  Yet  in  Ireland  at  that  time  there  were  fully  twice  as  many 
men  fit  to  fight  as  there  were  in  1798.  It  was  the  precipitancy 
in  taking  the  field  without  any  preparation  which  caused  the 
utter  failure. 

The  United  Irishmen  had  a  fine  organization  and  plenty  of 
pikes  in  1798,  but  few  firearms  of  any  kind.  Outside  of  Lord 
Edward  Fitzgerald  and  Thomas  Russell,  who  had  been  officers  in 
the  British  army,  William  Aylmer,  who  had  been  a  Lieutenant  of 
Militia,  one  or  two  men  who  had  seen  some  service  in  France 
and  several  who  had  received  a  partial  training  in  the  Volunteers, 




their  leaders  were  all  untrained  civilians.  Yet  they  inflicted  many 
defeats  on  the  English  forces  and  killed  or  wounded  thousands 
of  the  enemy  in  a  few  weeks  of  fighting. 

The  United  Irishmen  depended  on  a  French  invasion  to  sup- 
ply the  basis  of  their  military  organization  and  arms  and  am- 
munition. The  principal  French  expedition,  under  Hoche,  in 
1796,  failed  to  land;  when  the  second,  scarcely  numbering  a  thou- 
sand men,  under  Humbert,  landed  at  Killala,  in  August,  1798,  the 
insurrection  had  been  crushed,  and  it  was  two  months  later 
(October  11,  1798)  when  the  last  one,  in  which  Wolfe  Tone  was 
an  officer,  was  destroyed  in  Lough  Swilly.  Had  even  a  small  force 
like  Humbert's  landed  in  May  or  June  while  large  bodies  of  in- 
surgents were  still  in  the  field,  the  result  would  certainly  have 
been  very  different. 

But  the  thing  which  was  most  disastrous  of  all  to  the  United 
Irishmen  was  their  rejection  of  the  offer  of  the  Irish  militia  ser- 
geants to  deliver  up  Dublin  Castle  in  1797.  Had  the  leaders  ac- 
cepted it  the  insurrection  could  not  have  fared  worse  than  it 
actually  did,  and  if  the  militiamen  had  made  good,  Irish  history 
would  have  been  written  very  differently.  The  effect  on  the  rest 
of  the  militia,  many  of  the  yeomen  and  the  Irishmen  in  the  regu- 
lar army  would  undoubtedly  have  been  very  great.  Even  in  the 
face  of  many  failures  a  number  of  militiamen  and  yeomen  de- 
serted to  the  Rebels,  and  it  is  entirely  reasonable  to  suppose  that 
thousands  would  have  done  so  if  Dublin  Castle  had  fallen. 

But  civilians  decided  a  purely  military  question,  and  the  in- 
surrection of  1798  failed.  The  same  thing  occurred  in  the  case 
of  the  Fenians,  and  the  military  result  was  even  worse. 

Hugh  O'Neill  began  his  eight  years  war  (1595-1603)  with  a 
small,  but  well  trained  force,  and  at  Clontibret  and  the  Yellow 
Ford  inflicted  crushing  defeats  on  English  armies  led  by  Eng- 
land's best  Generals  and  superior  in  numbers  and  equipment. 
For  400  years  before  O'Neill's  time  the  Irish  were  virtually  able 
to  maintain  their  independence  and  confine  English  authority 
within  the  narrow  limits  of  the  Pale  by  reason  of  the  fact  that 
every  clansman  was  a  trained  soldier  and  every  clan  a  military 
unit,  easily  mobilized,  able  to  get  its  simple  weapons  and  plenty 
of  food  and  clothing  within  its  own  territory,  and  because  Ireland, 
always  an  easily  defended  country,  was  then  practically  covered 
with  woods. 

In  the  struggle  with  Cromwell  (1641-52),  in  spite  of  civilian 
and  foreign  interference,  they  made  a  splendid  military  record 
because  of  the  fact  that  Owen  Roe  O'Neill,  a  great  soldier,  who 
had  held  Arras  against  Conde  and  Turenne,  the  greatest  Generals 



of  their  time,  was  able  to  bring  from  Spain  200  veteran  Irish  offi- 
cers, who  helped  him  to  create  a  small,  but  well  disciplined  army. 
He  avoided  pitched  battles  until  his  men  were  fully  trained,  and 
then  he  gave  his  little  army  the  best  training  of  all — the  train- 
ing of  battle.  And  what  Owen  Roe  did  at  Benburb  against  an 
enemy  much  superior  in  numbers  and  equipment  can  always  be 
done  with  Irish  soldiers  when  they  are  ably  led.  Their  superb 
soldierly  qualities  are  recognized  by  all  military  men  whose  opin- 
ion is  worth  having. 

In  the  war  between  William  and  James  (1689-91)  which,  aside 
from  its  poor  politics,  was  a  military  contest  between  Ireland  and 
England — in  which  England  was  aided  by  a  Dutch  force  and  by 
German  mercenaries — the  Irish  were  able  to  hold  out  for  two 
years  against  heavy  odds  in  men  and  armament  because  they 
had  a  small,  but  well-trained  force  and  many  trained  officers  to 
serve  as  a  nucleus  of  their  army.  And  they  might,  by  enlisting 
a  larger  force,  have  won  in  the  end  but  for  the  cowardice,  avarice 
and  treachery  of  the  English  King  in  whose  cause  they  wasted 
their  valor. 

The  important  element  in  all  this,  and  in  the  whole  period 
prior  thereto  since  the  English  Invasion,  from  1169  to  1595,  was 
the  trained  man. 

The  same  was  true  of  the  Fenian  movement.  There  were  in 
Ireland  in  1865  about  26,000  British  regular  troops.  Of  these, 
as  already  mentioned,  8,000  were  sworn  Fenians.  Not  less  than 
sixty  per  cent,  of  the  rank  and  file  of  the  entire  British  forces 
were  Irish,  including  those  of  immediate  Irish  ancestry  born  in 
England  and  Scotland,  and  at  that  period  the  latter  were  among 
the  sturdiest  Irishmen  alive.  In  the  British  military  establish- 
ment stationed  outside  of  Ireland,  we  had  7,000  I.  R.  B.  men. 
Then  the  Militia  in  Ireland,  which  was  not  under  arms  because 
the  government  dared  not  call  it  out,  numbered  some  12,000 
men — more  than  half  of  whom  were  in  our  organization. 

When,  in  addition,  the  fact  is  borne  in  mind  that  we  had 
such  a  large  number  of  American  officers  in  Ireland — to  say 
nothing  of  the  hundreds  of  others  who  were  ready  to  come  over — 
it  must  be  admitted  that  trained  men  were  available  in  abun- 
dance, and  had  the  Insurrection  started  as  originally  planned, 
it  would  have  been  one  of  the  most  formidable  with  which  Eng- 
land ever  had  to  deal. 

True,  our  civilian  forces  were  insufficiently  armed,  but  the 
large  supply  of  rifles,  ammunition  and  equipment  stored  in  Brit- 
ish arsenals  in  Ireland  could  certainly  be  captured  by  well- 
planned,  determined  attacks. 



Most  of  the  British  commissioned  officers  were  at  that  time 
even  more  incompetent  than  they  proved  themselves  to  be  in 
the  Boer  War,  and  the  regiments  were  really  run  by  the  Adju- 
tants and  the  non-coms.  The  latter  included  a  large  propor- 
tion of  Irish  sergeants,  and  hundreds  of  these  were  Fenians.  Be- 
sides the  men  stationed  in  Ireland,  many  of  the  best  Fenian  regi- 
ments were  at  important  strategic  points  in  England.  A  Fenian 
at  the  War  Office  could  not  have  placed  them  to  greater  advan- 

Some  "wiseacres"  who  know  nothing  of  the  facts  have  under- 
taken to  prove  by  mere  assertion  that  the  Fenians  could  not  have 
relied  on  the  Irish  soldiers  in  the  British  army;  that  they  were 
mere  pothouse  patriots,  with  neither  sincerity  of  purpose  nor 
stamina.  The  opinions  of  such  men  are  worthless.  The  scores 
of  Irish  soldiers  who  bore  long  terms  of  imprisonment  for  their 
part  in  Fenianism,  gave  ample  proof  of  their  sincerity.  The 
measures  taken  by  the  British  Government  for  the  suppression 
of  the  organization  in  the  army  bore  striking  testimony  to  its 
belief  in  the  genuineness  of  the  danger. 

My  testimony  ought  to  be  worth  something  in  the  matter  of 
the  reliability  of  the  Fenian  soldiers  of  the  British  army.  For 
months  while  my  name  was  in  the  Hue  and  Cry — a  fact  known  to 
scores  of  soldiers — I  mixed  freely  among  them,  in  Dublin,  at  the 
Curragh  Camp,  and  in  Athlone,  arranging  plans,  assigning  men 
to  special  duty,  swearing  in  new  members,  and  encouraging  the 
old  ones,  and  I  was  arrested  only  after  four  months  of  this  work, 
through  a  spy,  against  whom  I  had  been  fully  warned,  but  whom 
I  had  to  face  because  of  civilian  blundering,  in  order  to  try  to 
avert  a  threatened  danger.  No  man  whom  I  really  trusted,  or 
who  was  trusted  by  my  predecessors  in  charge  of  the  organiza- 
tion in  the  army,  betrayed  the  cause,  and  with  the  exception  of 
two  or  three  Government  spies,  the  men  who  gave  testimony 
against  their  fellows  were  all  trapped  by  lying  stories  while  they 
were  on  starvation  diet  and  practically  deserted  in  Arbor  Hill 
Military  Prison,  and  then  they  did  not  tell  a  tenth  part  of  what 
they  really  knew.  The  rest  of  the  15,000  remained  loyal  and  true 
to  the  last. 

I  got  the  Hue  and  Cry — the  secret  publication  of  the  police — 
out  of  the  Government  Printing  office,  each  week,  through 
two  compositors  who  have  been  dead  for  many  years.  All  the 
Catholic  printers  except  one  were  searched  every  evening  as  they 
were  leaving  the  office.  The  one  exception  was  John  Podesta, 
who  was  born  in  Dublin  of  Italian  parents,  and  they  thought  it 
unlikely  that  he  would  be  a  Fenian.  But  he  was.  He  took  a  copy 
of  the  Hue  and  Cry  as  soon  as  it  came  off  the  press,  carried  it 



outside  and  handed  it  to  Michael  Clohessy,  who  had  already  been 
searched,  and  I  had  it  within  an  hour.  There  was  not  a  Gov- 
ernment Department,  not  even  excepting  the  police,  in  which  we 
had  not  friends  who  served  us  faithfully  and  promptly  at  that 

As  to  the  wiseacres'  theories  about  the  folly  of  trusting  to 
mutinous  soldiers,  they  are  sufficiently  refuted  by  modern  history, 
without  going  back  to  ancient  Rome  or  Byzantium.  Before  the 
days  of  Fenianism,  but  within  the  memory  of  men  then  still 
young,  whole  French  regiments  had  gone  over  to  Parisian  in- 
surgents, and  helped  to  change  the  Government.  Spanish  and 
Spanish-American  Governments  had  been  frequently  overturned 
by  the  army.  The  most  formidable  revolt  which  England  has 
ever  had  to  face  in  India  originated  in  1857  in  a  mutiny  of  her 
own  Sepoys,  and  they  led  it  from  start  to  finish. 

That  kind  of  thing  is  still  going  on  in  the  world.  Within 
recent  times  the  Young  Turks  deposed  Abdul  Hamid  by  marching 
a  whole  division  of  the  regular  army  on  Constantinople.  And 
later  still,  the  army  and  the  navy  combined  toppled  the  King  of 
Portugal  off  his  throne  and  set  up  a  Republic.  All  through 
human  history  military  revolts  have  played  a  most  important 
part;  Governments  still  fear  them  and  revolutionists  devote  much 
of  their  time  and  energy,  with  good  reason,  to  bringing  them 

The  Fenians  missed  making  history  in  a  similar  manner,  not 
through  any  failure  of  their  organization  in  the  British  army, 
but  because  their  civilian  leaders  failed  to  use  it  while  it  was 
ready  to  their  hand. 



First  Organizer  Appointed  by  Stephens  to  Propagate  Fenianism 
in  the  British  Army — Swore  in  Thousands  of  Soldiers — His 
"Paganism"  Merely  an  Eccentricity — Died  Reconciled  to  the 

No  account  of  Fenianism  in  the  British  army  would  be  com- 
plete without  a  sketch  of  "Pagan"  O'Leary,  who  was  the  first  man 
appointed  by  James  Stephens  to  take  charge  of  the  work.  The 
"Pagan"  was  a  unique  character.  A  fanatic  on  the  question  of 
Irish  Nationality  and  Roman  interference  in  Irish  affairs,  he  was 
generous  and  charitable  to  a  fault,  and  under  the  disguise  of 
stern  looks  and  harsh  words  carried  a  heart  as  tender  as  a 
woman's.  His  "Paganism"  was  only  a  distorted  kind  of  Nation- 

His  real  name  was  Patrick  O'Leary  and  he  was  born  in  or 
near  Macroom — "in  old  Ibh  Laoghaire  by  the  Hills" — about  1825 
or  1826.  His  age  can  only  be  estimated  by  the  fact  that  in  1846 
when  the  Mexican  War  broke  out,  he  was  a  very  young  man 
studying  for  the  priesthood  in  an  American  Catholic  college,  the 
walls  of  which  he  scaled  to  enlist  in  a  regiment  going  to  the 
front.  He  took  part  in  several  battles  and  was  hit  in  one  of 
them  by  a  spent  ball  at  the  top  of  the  forehead.  It  left  an  in- 
dention that  was  quite  visible  and  easily  felt  with  the  fingers. 
This  undoubtedly  affected  his  mind  to  the  extent  of  making  him 
very  eccentric. 

His  eccentricity  took  the  form  of  a  sort  of  religious  mania. 
He  hated  Rome  and  England  with  equal  intensity,  and  his  queer 
notion  was  that  after  driving  out  the  English,  Ireland  should  re- 
turn to  the  old  Paganism.  He  was  not  really  a  Pagan,  but  an 
anti-Roman  Catholic.  He  never  talked  of  the  old  Pagan  wor- 
ship or  beliefs,  but  was  eloquent  in  extolling  the  superiority  of 
Tir-na-nOg  over  the  Christian  Heaven.  He  did  not  seem  to 
doubt  the  existence  of  either  of  them  and  talked  as  if  a  man 
could  make  his  own  choice  as  to  where  he  would  go  after  death. 

In  Tir-na-nOg  not  only  were  the  old  Gaelic  sports  carried  on 
and  fine  horses  and  good  hunting  dogs  available,  but  the  com- 
pany was  of  the  best.  Fionn  MacCumhail,  Ossian,  Oscar,  Goll 
MacMorna,  Diarmuid  Ua  Duibhne  and  the  rest  of  the  Fenian 




heroes  and  the  beautiful  women  they  fought  and  sang  about  were 
all  there,  and  he  had  no  doubt  that  Hugh  O'Neill  and  Red  Hugh 
O'Donnell,  Owen  Roe,  Lord  Edward  Fitzgerald,  Wolfe  Tone  and 
Robert  Emmet  had  all  found  their  way  to  Tir-na-nOg.  But  Der- 
mot  MacMurrough,  the  Queen's  O'Neills,  O'Donnells  and  Mac- 
Guires,  and  others  who  sold  their  country  to  Elizabeth;  Jimmy 
O'Brien  and  the  other  informers  of  1798;  Paul  Cullen  (as  he 
called  the  Archbishop  of  Dublin),  and  Sullivan  Goulah  could 
never  gain  admission. 

After  he  returned  to  America  In  1871  and  learned  what  had 
occurred  while  he  was  in  prison  he  added  Pierce  Nagle,  Corydon, 
Massey  and  Bishop  Moriarty  to  the  list  of  the  excluded.  These 
he  assumed  would  be  all  in  Heaven,  though  he  would  have  pre- 
ferred to  have  them  in  the  other  place,  and  no  true  Irishman 
would  want  to  associate  with  them,  either  in  this  world  or  the 
next.  One  of  his  chief  grievances  against  the  Church  was  the 
giving  of  the  last  rites  to  traitors,  informers  and  enemies  of  the 
people.  His  Heaven  was  entirely  Irish.  His  conception  of  it  was 
Nationalism  gone  mad. 

"The  Pagan"  had  his  particular  grievances  against  St.  Patrick, 
which  made  him  drop  the  name.  He  claimed  that  the  Apostle  of 
Ireland  had  demoralized  the  Irish  by  teaching  them  to  forgive 
their  enemies.  Any  man  who  did  that  was  a  poltroon.  It  was 
like  listening  to  the  dialogue  between  Ossian,  back  from  Tir- 
na-nOg,  and  St.  Patrick.  As  knowledge  of  that  story  was  com- 
mon all  over  Munster  when  "The  Pagan"  was  young,  he  had 
probably  often  heard  it  recited,  and  it  became  his  Bible. 

Before  St.  Patrick's  time,  he  said,  the  Gaels  had  the  finest 
life  of  any  people  on  earth.  They  sent  expeditions  to  Britain, 
Gaul  and  Spain  and  came  back  with  their  galleys  laden  with 
the  spoils  of  war — gold,  silver  and  beautiful  women — enriching 
the  land  thereby,  especially  with  the  fine  women.  St.  Patrick 
had  put  an  end  to  all  that  and  now  the  people,  except  a  few  in 
whom  the  old  spirit  had  survived,  were  good  for  nothing  but 
"thumping  their  craws  and  telling  their  beads."  That  was  what 
made  the  Gael  an  easy  prey  for  the  Dane,  the  Norman  and  the 

Another  grievance  "The  Pagan"  had  against  the  "Eyetalian" 
Church  was  that  there  was  a  monopoly  of  the  saints  for  the 
priests  and  the  monks;  and  he  did  not  appear  to  have  any  doubt 
about  these  saints  having  the  choice  places  in  Heaven.  "Did  you 
ever  hear  of  them  making  a  saint  of  a  poor  devil  of  a  soldier?" 
he  would  ask.  And  his  hearers,  being  generally  unable  to  recall 
the  names  of  the  warriors  who  had  been  canonized,  were  put  to 



But  his  religious  notions  were  entirely  political,  and  his  favor- 
ite expression  about  the  ranting  partisans  of  England  was  that 
he  would  "rather  be  a  louse  on  a  rat's  back  than  an  Orange- 
man." And  when  stripped  to  be  put  into  the  convict  clothes  in 
Mountjoy  Prison,  Dublin,  they  found  a  scapular  and  an  Agnus 
Dei  hanging  from  his  neck. 

After  his  conviction  he  was  asked  the  usual  question  about  his 
religion  and  he  answered  that  he  was  a  Pagan — "an  old  Milesian 
Pagan."  They  told  him  they  had  no  Pagans  in  the  prison  and 
he  assured  them  they  had  one.  Well,  he  must  attend  religious 
service  of  some  kind,  and  they  had  only  Catholics,  Protestants 
and  Jews,  so  he  must  make  his  choice.  He  refused  and  after 
the  first  Sunday  was  put  on  a  bread  and  water  diet. 

The  next  Sunday  he  refused  again  and  the  dose  of  bread  and 
water  was  repeated.  He  was  brought  before  the  Governor  and 
said  to  him:  "I  see  you  want  to  starve  me  so  that  I'll  be  no  good 
when  the  fight  comes.  Well,  if  I  must  have  some  religion,  I'd 
rather  be  a  beggar  than  a  robber.  Put  me  down  as  a  Papist." 
After  that,  during  his  seven  years  in  prison  he  attended  Mass 
every  Sunday,  and,  in  England,  was  brought  to  the  chapel  every 
morning  for  religious  instruction,  which  was  always  accompanied 
by  the  singing  of  hymns,  and  on  Sunday  evenings  to  vespers. 

But  among  the  convicts  in  Woking — the  invalid  prison — he 
ranted  his  "Paganism",  to  the  great  scandal  and  annoyance  of 
the  other  Fenian  prisoners,  and  at  last  was  called  to  task  by 
Roantree,  who  taunted  him  with  insincerity  because  he  wore  the 
scapular  and  the  Agnus  Dei.  It  was  then  "The  Pagan"  explained 
that  he  kept  them  only  as  a  keepsake  from  his  mother.  This 
incident,  which  took  place  among  a  lot  of  Englishmen,  resulted 
in  his  developing  an  insane  hatred  for  Roantree,  and  he  circu- 
lated the  most  absurd  stories  about  him.  The  confinement  had 
greatly  intensified  "The  Pagan's"  mental  aberration. 

After  our  release  from  prison  in  1871  and  while  we  were  in 
Washington  as  the  guests  of  the  city,  we  found  that  "The  Pagan" 
had  told  several  of  our  Irish  friends  that  Roantree  was  a  British 
spy.  Fortunately  for  him,  Roantree  did  not  hear  of  it,  but  it 
had  to  be  stopped  somehow  to  prevent  a  scandal.  Acting  on  the 
assumption  that  he  was  a  man  of  unbalanced  mind,  I  got  four 
or  five  of  the  younger  ex-prisoners  together  and  we  concocted  a 
plan.  We  sent  for  "The  Pagan"  and  I  informed  him  that  we  were 
a  courtmartial  to  try  the  case.  We  would  hear  all  the  evidence 
he  had  against  Roantree  and  if  he  was  guilty  we  would  sentence 
him  to  death  and  "The  Pagan"  would  be  the  executioner.  But  if 
"The  Pagan"  failed  to  prove  his  case  we  would  kill  him  for  bring- 
ing a  false  charge  against  a  good  man. 



The  plan  worked  splendidly.  "The  Pagan"  at  once  agreed  to 

the  terms  and  before  an  hour  had  passed  admitted  that  he  had 
no  evidence  whatever.  He  did  not  mean  that  Roantree  was  a 
traitor  exactly.  But  he  was  a  crawling  slave  who  went  down  on 
his  knees  to  the  "English-Eyetalian  soul-savers"  in  the  prison. 
We  then  told  him  that  the  death  penalty  would  surely  be  in- 
flicted if  he  ever  repeated  the  charge;  he  promised  good  be- 
havior and  kept  his  word.  We  could  hardly  keep  ourselves  from 
laughing  during  the  proceedings,  but  "The  Pagan"  took  them  as 
seriously  as  he  did  his  grandmother's  stories  about  the  fairies 
when  he  was  a  child,  and  he  was  most  discreet  in  his  behavior 
during  the  rest  of  our  week's  stay  in  Washington. 

After  the  Mexican  War,  O'Leary  learned  the  trade  of  a  car- 
penter and  roamed  all  over  the  United  States  and  some  of 
Mexico.  He  finally  settled  down  in  New  York  and  joined  the 
Fenian  Brotherhood  soon  after  its  organization.  One  of  his 
favorite  habits  was  to  go  down  to  Castle  Garden  and  watch  the 
immigrants  landing.  He  would  question  them  about  conditions 
in  the  Old  Land  and  if  he  met  a  young  fellow  who  was  friendless 
and  found  him  to  be  a  Nationalist  he  would  take  him  to  his 
boarding  house  and  keep  him  until  he  secured  him  employment. 

His  impatient  spirit  chafed  at  the  slowness  of  the  Fenian 
work  and  he  made  several  trips  to  Ireland  to  see  things  for  him- 
self. Then  he  would  return  to  America  to  hurry  them  up. 

"The  Pagan"  spent  very  little  money  on  himself,  but  was  very 
liberal  in  his  contributions  to  the  cause  and  in  helping  good  men 
who  were  in  need.  Stephens  was  hard  pressed  for  money  in 
1863,  and  hearing  it  from  Luby,  who  was  then  in  America,  "The 
Pagan"  gave  him  $100  to  take  to  "The  Captain".  Later  he  sent 
him  $46  by  Roantree,  when  he  was  returning  to  Ireland.  We 
have  the  evidence  of  it  in  the  letters  seized  at  Luby's  house  and 
in  one  found  on  Michael  Moore,  the  pikemaker,  when  he  was 
arrested.   They  were  read  in  evidence  at  the  trials. 

Moore,  who  was  then  in  Troy,  N.  Y.,  wanted  to  go  home  to 
Dublin  and  "The  Pagan"  told  him  to  get  the  members  in  Troy  to 
subscribe  to  buy  him  a  rifle.  Then  "The  Pagan's"  letter  con- 

"If  I  had  it  to  spare  I  would  pay  your  passage  money  my- 
self, but  you  are  aware  of  my  sending  $146  on  to  No.  1 — that 
is,  $100  by  the  Doctor  and  $46  by  Bill  Roantree,  which  leaves 
me  short  at  present.  Saint  Sylvester  McDermott  is  here  at 
present  from  the  West.  He  says  he  is  going  to  Ireland.  I  do 
not  know  whether  he  is  or  not,  and  I  don't  care  a  damn  either 
way  about  the  lying,  Slavish  Wretch." 

This  allusion  is  to  "Red  Jim"  McDermott,  who  later  was  noto- 
rious as  a  British  spy.   With  all  his  eccentricities,  "The  Pagan" 



was  a  good  judge  of  character.  "The  Doctor"  was  Thomas  Clarke 

Richard  Pigott,  the  traitor  and  forger,  who  always  pretended 
to  have  inside  information  about  the  Fenians,  says  in  his  "Recol- 
lections of  An  Irish  Journalist"  that  "The  Pagan's"  real  name 
was  Murphy.  I  knew  a  nephew  of  his  named  Murphy,  who  was 
clerk  of  the  Relief  Committee  during  the  visit  of  Mr.  Parnell  and 
Mr.  John  Dillon  to  America  in  1880,  but  I  assumed  that  he  was 
his  sister's  son.  The  conclusion  of  the  letter  to  Moore  seems  to 
settle  the  question  of  the  right  name.   It  says: 

"And  when  you  write  to  me  for  ever  after  this,  always 
address  me  as  follows:  'O'Laoghari,  H.  R.  and  M.  P.'  The 
cursed  English  way  of  spelling  my  name  is  O'Leary,  and  the 
old  Ancient  Milesian  Pagan  way  of  spelling  it  is  O'Laoghari. 
O'Leary  is  English,  I  curse  it.  O'Laoghari  is  Milesian,  I  bless  it. 

"Hereditary  Rebel  and  Milesian  Pagan." 

This  letter  was  dated,  69  Crosby  Street,  New  York,  September 
22,  1863.  "The  Pagan"  sailed  from  Boston  for  Galway  on  October 
6  of  the  same  year. 

I  met  him  first  in  Denieffe's  tailoring  establishment  in  Ann 
Street,  Dublin,  soon  after  he  came  over  that  time,  and,  in  spite 
of  his  odd  manner  and  speech,  I  was  greatly  impressed  with  his 

He  was  an  inveterate  smoker,  but  never  used  tobacco  on  which 
duty  had  been  paid  to  England,  and  never  drank  liquor,  tea  or 
coffee  for  the  same  reason.  He  was  the  first  Sinn  Feiner  and  he 
preached  the  doctrine  in  season  and  out,  sometimes  with  embar- 
rassing results.  A  waiter  at  the  "Ship"  or  the  "Ormond"  would 
ask  him:  "Will  you  have  tea  or  coffee,  sir?"  and  he  would  at  once 
and  in  loud  voice  read  him  a  lecture  on  the  foolishness  of  putting 
money  in  the  pocket  of  the  British  Government  and  helping  to 
support  "Mrs.  Brown" — as  he  always  called  Queen  Victoria.  When 
his  American  tobacco  ran  out  he  would  try  to  find  a  Yankee 
ship — they  sometimes  came  to  Dublin  in  those  days — and  would 
fast  till  he  could  renew  the  supply  from  a  sailor.  But  he  preached 
temperance  for  its  own  sake,  as  well  as  to  injure  the  British 

Pierce  Nagle,  the  informer,  swore  at  the  trial  of  Luby  that 
"The  Pagan",  when  in  Dublin,  slept  in  the  Irish  People  office  and 
spent  much  of  his  time  casting  bullets.  As  Nagle  was  a  matter- 
of-fact  sort  of  a  scoundrel  who  did  not  deviate  very  much  from 
the  truth  in  his  testimony  and  was  himself  employed  in  the 
office,  this  statement  was  probably  true.  A  free  dormitory  would 



be  quite  consistent  with  "The  Pagan's"  idea  of  economy,  and 
casting  bullets  at  the  headquarters  of  the  organization,  under 
the  very  noses  of  the  police,  would  be  in  accord  with  the  reckless 
disregard  of  ordinary  considerations  of  prudence  which  charac- 
terized much  of  the  Fenian  action  at  that  time. 

After  swearing  in  thousands  of  soldiers  and  never  having  met 
with  a  refusal,  "The  Pagan"  made  his  first  mistake  on  the  Bridge 
of  Athlone  in  1864.  He  met  a  soldier  there,  got  into  talk  with 
him  and  tried  to  make  a  Fenian  of  him.  The  soldier  led  him 
on  until  he  committed  himself  by  asking  him  to  take  the  oath 
and  then  called  a  policeman  who  was  standing  at  one  end  of  the 
bridge.  There  was  another  "Peeler"  at  the  other  end,  so  there 
was  no  escape  and  he  was  arrested.  He  was  tried  at  the  next 
assizes  and  sentenced  to  seven  years'  penal  servitude.  He  was 
the  first  of  the  Fenians  to  wear  the  "convict  grey". 

We  knew  the  time  of  his  arrival  at  the  Broadstone  station 
and  arranged  to  cheer  him  up  by  conveying  to  him  the  news 
which  Stephens  had  just  sent  out,  "the  fight  will  be  next  year." 
Mrs.  O'Donovan  Rossa,  who  had  only  recently  become  Rossa's 
third  wife,  and  the  wife  of  Denis  Cromien,  the  man  who  built 
St.  John's  Church  in  Thomas  Street,  went  up  to  him  as  he  stepped 
from  the  train,  shook  hands  with  him,  and  after  a  few  words 
Mrs.  Rossa  said:  "John  Hughes  is  coming  home  next  year." 
William  F.  Roantree,  James  O'Connor,  Dan  Downing,  Con 
O'Mahony  and  I  were  standing  near,  so  O'Leary  took  in  the  situ- 
ation at  once  and  his  face  lighted  up. 

John  Hughes  was  "The  Pagan's"  particular  friend  in  New 
York  and  he  had  promised  to  go  to  Ireland  for  the  fight.  So 
when  John  Hughes  was  "coming  over  next  year"  that  meant  that 
the  fight  was  to  take  place  in  1865,  and  the  Peelers  who  heard 
the  remark  were  none  the  wiser.  John  Hughes  didn't  go  over, 
nor  did  a  great  many  others  in  America  who  had  made  similar 
promises,  but  the  fault  was  not  theirs.  Between  postponements 
in  Ireland  and  the  disastrous  Split  in  America,  the  organization 
was  only  a  shattered  remnant  when  the  attempt  to  fight  was 
made  in  March,  1867. 

"The  Pagan"  had  a  number  of  queer  photographs  taken  in 
New  York  before  going  over  on  his  last  trip  to  Ireland  which 
illustrated  the  odd  character  of  the  man.  He  was  dressed  in  a 
Garibaldian  shirt,  but  gray,  instead  of  red,  and  from  his  belt 
hung  two  revolvers  and  a  bowie  knife.  One  of  his  hands  pointed 
to  a  black  flag,  hanging  from  a  horizontal  staff,  with  a  skull  and 
cross  bones  displayed  on  it,  and  over  them  the  words,  "Inde- 
pendence or   ?"   He  was  a  small,  wiry  man,  with  good 



features,  an  aquiline  nose  and  clear,  blue-grey  eyes.  His  hair, 
mustache  and  "imperial"  were  perfectly  white,  and  he  looked 
much  older  than  he  actually  was. 

After  his  release  in  1871  he  settled  for  a  time  in  New  York, 
but  soon  resumed  his  roving  habits  and  his  old  friends  hardly 
ever  knew  where  to  find  him  until  he  entered  the  Soldiers'  Home 
in  Norfolk,  Va.,  where  he  died  many  years  ago,  fully  reconciled 
to  the  Church.  Before  he  left  New  York  he  was  once  taken  ill 
and  immediately  sent  for  a  priest  and  obtained  the  consolations 
of  religion.  He  was  hardly  out  of  bed  when  he  began  to  pitch 
into  the  "Eyetalians"  as  fiercely  as  ever,  so  some  waggish  friends 
played  a  practical  joke  on  him  to  test  the  reality  of  his  "Pagan- 
Ism".  They  put  some  stuff  in  his  coffee  which  made  him  very 
sick  for  a  short  time  and  he  promptly  sent  for  a  priest  again. 
After  that  his  attacks  on  the  Church  became  less  and  less  fre- 
quent until  eventually  they  ceased  entirely. 

This  queer,  unbalanced  man,  who  was  more  like  a  survival  of 
the  fifth  century  than  a  modern  Irishman,  was  able,  in  spite 
of  his  mental  defects,  to  bring  into  existence  the  element  in 
Fenianism  that  was  most  really  dangerous  to  England,  and  would 
have  proved  to  be  most  effective  in  the  struggle  if  the  Fenian 
leadership  had  been  equal  to  the  occasion.  Self-sacrifice  and 
devotion  were  common  enough  among  the  Fenians,  whatever 
other  qualities  they  may  have  lacked,  and  no  Irishman  who  ever 
lived  was  more  devoted  or  self-sacrificing  than  Patrick  O'Leary 
who  called  himself  "The  Pagan". 



William  Francis  Roantree  Succeeded  "Pagan"  O'Leary  as  Organ- 
izer of  Fenianism  in  the  Army,  and  did  Most  Effective 

The  organization  in  the  British  army  was  not  started  by 
"Pagan"  O'Leary.  Some  "Centres"  in  garrison  towns  had  sworn 
in  soldiers,  and  a  few  men  already  enrolled  had  enlisted,  but 
Stephens  discountenanced  the  work  of  spreading  the  movement 
in  the  army.  It  was  impossible,  however,  to  reach  all  of  those 
who  were  doing  work  in  that  line,  as  no  record  was  kept  of 
those  who  had  enlisted.  So  the  swearing  in  of  soldiers  went  on 
irregularly,  though  the  number  for  a  while  was  not  large. 

Two  young  teachers  from  the  Skibbereen  district  of  Cork, 
who  had  been  up  for  training  in  the  Agricultural  School  at  Glas- 
nevin,  had  some  trouble  in  the  school,  and  enlisted  in  the  Twelfth 
Regiment  of  Foot.  Their  names  were  Driscoll  and  Sullivan,  and 
they  were  both  members.  They  started  to  work  immediately  and 
swore  in  a  good  many  men  in  their  own  regiment  and  in  the 
Eighty-fourth,  both  of  which  were  then  stationed  in  Dublin.  Con 
O'Mahony  of  Macroom,  who  was  Stephens'  secretary,  Dan 
Downing  of  Skibbereen,  who  was  a  clerk  in  the  Irish  People  office, 
James  O'Connor  and  I  were  walking  in  the  Phoenix  Park  one 
Sunday  in  1863  when  the  two  young  soldiers  came  along  and  I 
was  introduced  to  them.  In  the  course  of  the  talk  I  found  they 
were  quite  sanguine  about  getting  the  great  majority  of  the 
Irishmen  in  the  army.  They  themselves,  without  money  or 
civilian  help,  had  already  sworn  in  several  hundred  men. 

The  progress  which  those  two  young  fellows  had  made  was 
the  main  factor  in  breaking  down  the  objections  of  Stephens,  but 
he  did  not  yield  until  he  and  "The  Pagan"  had  a  very  hot  argu- 
ment. "The  Pagan"  had  already  started  to  work  and  he  threat- 
ened that,  if  Stephens  stopped  him,  he  would  return  to  America 
and  tell  the  men  there  that  Stephens  was  opposed  to  demoraliz- 
ing the  army  of  the  enemy.  The  general  sentiment  was  on  "The 
Pagan's"  side  and  Stephens  at  last  yielded  and  appointed  O'Leary 
Chief  Organizer  for  the  British  Army. 

"The  Pagan"  set  to  work  in  his  own  way  and  went  where  he 
liked,  coming  back  occasionally  to  report  to  Stephens.   He  spent 




very  little  money,  and  none  at  all  on  drink.  Besides  being 
naturally  a  sober  man,  he  had  the  prejudice  already  described 
against  using  anything  that  put  money  into  the  British  Treasury. 
His  plan  of  work  was  very  simple.  Men  already  sworn  in  would 
tell  him  of  friends  in  their  own  or  other  regiments,  or  the  civilian 
Fenians  in  garrison  towns  would  introduce  him  to  their  acquain- 
tances among  the  soldiers.  In  that  way  most  of  the  men  he  met 
were  already  vouched  for.  He  would  make  appointments  to  meet 
them  either  in  a  friend's  house  or  on  a  country  road,  and  he 
would  talk  to  them  in  groups  and  swear  them  in  separately. 

An  old  soldier  knew  how  to  talk  to  soldiers,  and  "The  Pagan's" 
talks  were  most  effective.  In  his  rough  and  ready  way  he  told 
them  of  the  use  to  which  England  put  them  while  they  were 
young  and  healthy  and  the  hard  lot  of  the  maimed  and  crippled 
veteran  who  was  left  to  beg  on  the  streets  or  to  die  in  the  poor- 
house.  The  few  who  lived  to  get  a  pension  after  twenty-one 
years'  service  were  the  exceptions. 

But  the  most  effective  part  of  his  appeals  was  where  he 
described  the  heartless  evictions,  many  of  them  carried  out  with 
bodies  of  troops  to  overawe  the  people,  and  the  sufferings  of  the 
victims  on  the  emigrant  ships  and  after  their  arrival  in  America. 
He  had  seen  thousands  of  them  and  could  speak  from  personal 
knowledge,  while  many  of  his  hearers  were  themselves  victims 
of  the  Clearances,  or  had  relatives  who  were.  And  he  pictured 
the  man  who  would  fire  on  his  own  flesh  and  blood  for  England's 
shilling  a  day  as  worse  than  a  dog. 

In  those  days  bloody  fights  between  Irish  and  English  regi- 
ments were  very  common  in  the  garrisons,  and  the  Irish  always 
won.  I  remember  seeing  one  desperate  battle  between  the  Eighty- 
seventh  and  a  regiment  of  Guards — either  the  Coldstreams  or 
the  Scots  Fusiliers — and  the  Faug-a-Ballaghs  chased  the  Guards- 
men all  along  the  Quays  from  near  the  Royal  Barracks  and  over 
one  of  the  bridges  to  near  Carlisle  Bridge  on  Aston's  Quay,  where 
they  captured  the  man  they  were  after,  in  spite  of  his  comrades 
and  a  large  body  of  police,  and  threw  him  into  the  Liffey.  He 
was  rescued  by  a  man  in  a  boat  and  the  fight  ended.  The  provost 
guard  had  often  to  be  called  out  at  Aldershot  and  the  Curragh 
to  quell  an  Anglo-Irish  riot  in  which  serious  wounds  were  inflicted 
with  belt  buckles  and  pewter  quarts. 

With  rough  eloquence  "The  Pagan"  would  touch  the  race 
pride  of  the  Irish  soldiers  by  showing  how  they  themselves  could 
smash  the  English  army  and  give  Ireland  a  sweet  revenge  for 
seven  hundred  years  of  robbery,  persecution  and  slavery.  All 
this  would  not  be  said  in  the  form  of  a  speech,  but  conversa- 



tionally  and  in  detached  pieces.  He  got  the  men  to  help  him  by 
telling  their  own  experiences  and  what  had  driven  them  to  .join 
the  army.  Many  of  these  stories  were  tragic.  In  those  days  the 
Irishmen  in  the  British  army  were  of  fine  physique  and  many  of 
them  had  received  a  good  primary  education.  When  later  I  came 
to  know  them  I  was  amazed  at  their  intelligence.  Many  of  the 
sergeants  were  men  fit  to  hold  commissions  and  had  in  them 
the  material  for  competent  regimental  commanders.  And  they 
were  not  all  Catholics. 

"The  Pagan"  swore  in  soldiers  in  all  sorts  of  places, — not  a 
few  in  sentry  boxes,  while  yet  on  duty  with  rifles  in  their  hands. 
They  were  all  over  Ireland,  but  mainly  in  the  chief  garrison 
towns  and  at  the  Curragh  Camp.  Some  of  the  regiments  were 
moved  to  England  and  the  work  went  on  without  interruption. 
In  the  North  of  England  and  Scotland,  where  there  were  a  great 
many  Irishmen,  soldiers  and  civilian  Fenians  speedily  got  into 
touch,  and  it  was  easy  to  transmit  messages. 

But  "The  Pagan's"  work  was  mainly  propagandist  and,  as  it 
was  all  done  in  about  a  year,  the  organization  that  resulted  was 
rather  loose.  Probably  "The  Pagan"  would  not  have  been  able 
to  do  any  better  if  he  had  the  time.  Some  weeks  after  O'Leary's 
arrest,  William  Francis  Roantree  was  appointed  in  his  place  by 

Roantree  was  born  in  Leixlip,  County  Kildare.  His  father 
was  an  auctioneer  doing  a  good  business,  and  he  himself  was 
trained  as  a  butcher.  He  had  several  brothers,  all  of  whom 
were  Fenians,  except  one,  who  in  after  years  was  an  Inspector 
of  National  Schools.  William  Roantree  had  served  for  some 
time  in  the  American  Navy  and  had  seen  some  service  with  the 
famous  filibusterer,  General  Walker,  in  Nicaragua.  He  had  re- 
turned to  Ireland  in  1861  and  started  the  Fenian  work  in  Leixlip, 
where  there  was  soon  one  of  the  largest  Circles  in  the  country. 
It  included  strong  contingents  in  Maynooth,  Celbridge,  Lucan 
and  other  towns  in  Kildare  and  Dublin.  As  he  was  a  man  of 
fine  physique  and  military  appearance,  with  good  manners,  he 
was  a  great  contrast  to  his  predecessor,  and  no  better  selection 
could  have  been  made. 

Roantree  had  for  assistants  James  Rynd,  a  Kerryman,  who 
was  in  the  Dublin  Fire  Brigade,  and,  I  think,  had  served  in  the 
Irish  Papal  Brigade;  Thomas  Baines,  a  Sligo  man,  who  had 
also  been  for  a  time  in  the  Fire  Brigade;  and,  towards  the  end, 
Jack  Mullen,  a  Dublin  man,  who  had  seen  some  service  in  the 
Federal  Navy  in  the  earlier  part  of  the  Civil  War.  In  after  years 
Mullen  turned  out  rather  poorly  and  was  never  much  of  an 
acquisition  to  the  organizing  staff. 



Roantree  whipped  the  organization  in  the  army  into  better 
shape  and  it  advanced  rapidly  under  his  management.  He  got  in 
touch  with  the  men  in  the  garrisons  in  Dublin,  Cork,  Limerick, 
Waterford,  Fermoy,  Buttevant,  Athlone,  Mullingar,  Dundalk,  Bel- 
fast, Derry,  Enniskillen  and  the  Curragh  Camp,  and  picked  out 
one  man  for  "Centre"  of  each  of  the  regiments.  I  found  them 
all  to  be  very  intelligent  men. 

I  became  acquainted  with  several  of  these  men,  while  Roan- 
tree was  still  in  charge,  through  my  close  personal  relations 
with  him.  I  accompanied  him  on  several  of  his  visits  to  the 
men  stationed  in  Dublin  and  met  those  at  the  Curragh  Camp 
when  I  went  with  him  to  the  Curragh  races. 

When  I  took  Roantree's  place  I  found  he  had  appointed  Pat- 
rick Keating,  a  handsome  six  feet  two  Clareman,  as  "Centre" 
of  the  Fifth  Dragoon  Guards.  When  a  much  younger  man  Keat- 
ing had  enlisted  in  the  Sixth  Carbineers,  and  his  family  had 
"bought  him  out."  During  that  enlistment  he  was  on  John 
Mitchel's  escort  when  they  took  him  away  to  the  ship  in  1848, 
and  again,  in  his  second  term,  he  was  on  the  Luby  escort.  The 
thought  of  it  was  too  much  for  him,  and  as  he  saw  Luby  taken 
from  the  van  into  Mountjoy  Prison  he  burst  into  tears.  The 
sight  of  the  helmeted  dragoon,  sword  in  hand,  with  the  tears 
streaming  down  his  cheeks,  made  him  a  marked  man,  and  he 
was  one  of  the  first  soldiers  arrested  in  1866.  He  died  of  heart 
disease,  a  prisoner  in  Western  Australia. 

Many  of  the  Fenian  soldiers  made  no  effort  to  disguise  their 
sympathies  and  some  of  them  were  very  reckless.  One  day  in 
1865,  I  met  eight  six-footers  of  the  Fifth  Dragoons,  marching  in 
twos,  in  close  order,  with  their  light  canes  held  as  swords,  and 
all  singing  "O'Donnell  Abu,"  as  they  swung  into  Castle  Street 
past  the  Upper  Castle  Yard,  and  the  infantry  guard  across  the 
street  standing  inside  the  rails  and  grinning  approvingly.  At 
the  Curragh  races  in  June,  1865,  Roantree  introduced  me  to  a 
lot  of  soldiers,  and  he  loaded  a  jaunting  car  with  a  group  of 
them  to  drive  them  over  to  the  Camp.  Roantree,  Dan  Byrne  of 
Ballitore  (who  worked  in  one  of  the  canteens) ,  William  Dunphy 
of  Mountmellick,  and  I  were  the  only  civilians.  Among  the  sol- 
diers was  Thomas  Hassett,  a  Corkman,  who  had  served  in  the 
"Pope's  Brigade,"  but  was  then  in  the  Twenty-fourth  Foot,  and 
who  was  afterwards  one  of  the  six  men  rescued  from  Western 
Australia  by  the  Catalpa  expedition.  Of  their  own  accord  yie 
soldiers  struck  up  "The  Rising  of  the  Moon,"  and  we  tried  in 
vain  to  stop  them.  They  continued  to  sing  till  the  car  swung 
into  the  streets  of  the  Camp  and  there  were  approving  smiles 
from  scores  of  soldiers  as  we  passed  the  doors  of  the  huts. 



Roantree  was  arrested,  with  several  others,  on  the  night  the 
Irish  People  was  seized — September  15,  1865 — and  warrants  were 
issued  for  the  arrest  of  Rynd  and  Baynes,  who,  being  well  known 
to  the  detectives,  had  to  keep  out  of  sight.  Later  both  were 
arrested.  Rynd,  against  whom  there  was  little  evidence,  was 
released  on  bail,  but  Bayne  was  convicted  and  sentenced  to  ten 
years'  penal  servitude.  The  latter  was  released  in  Western  Aus- 
tralia in  1869  (with  John  Kenealy  and  several  others) ,  and  went 
to  San  Francisco,  where  he  died.  James  Rynd  died  in  Boston. 

Roantree,  shortly  after  his  arrest,  was  tried  and  sentenced  to 
penal  servitude  for  ten  years.  He  was  released  at  the  same  time 
as  John  O'Leary,  Thomas  Clarke  Luby,  O'Donovan  Rossa,  and  a 
number  of  others  in  1871,  and  came  to  America.  After  spending 
some  time  in  New  York  he  settled  in  Philadelphia,  where  he 
became  a  traveller  for  a  large  wholesale  house.  About  the  year 
1900  he  returned  to  Ireland,  and  secured  employment  under  the 
Dublin  Corporation.  He  died  in  that  city  in  1918,  at  the  age  of  89. 

On  the  night  of  the  seizure  of  the  Irish  People  several  soldiers 
came  out  over  the  barrack  walls  to  find  out  what  was  up  and  to 
convey  the  news  to  their  comrades  inside.  They  thought  there 
might  be  a  fight.  As  a  majority  of  the  men  on  guard  at  the 
barrack  gates,  and  several  of  the  sergeants,  were  Fenians,  they 
had  no  difficulty  in  getting  back,  and  not  a  man  of  them  was 
punished.  For  several  weeks  after  the  arrests,  the  work  in  the 
army  necessarily  was  brought  to  a  standstill  and  new  conditions 
came  into  existence. 



Stephens  Appointed  Devoy  "Chief  Organizer  of  the  British 
Troops  in  Ireland" — Assistants  Well  Qualified  for  the 

For  several  weeks  after  the  arrest  of  Roantree  the  organiza- 
tion in  the  army  was  left  to  drift  along  without  attention.  Many 
of  the  men,  however,  had  acquaintances  among  the  members  of 
the  civil  organization  in  the  various  garrison  towns,  especially  in 
Dublin,  and  some  kind  of  irregular  communication  was  kept  up 
with  the  soldiers — enough  to  let  them  know  that,  in  spite  of  the 
numerous  arrests,  the  organization  was  still  intact  and  that  the 
intention  to  fight  remained. 

There  was  a  sharp  lookout  for  Stephens,  which  made  it  neces- 
sary for  him  to  keep  very  quiet,  but,  as  long  as  the  head  of  the 
organization  remained  uncaptured,  the  spirit  of  confidence  con- 
tinued unbroken.  For  a  short  time  Edward  (Ned)  Duffy  was  the 
medium  of  communication  between  Stephens  and  the  organiza- 
tion. Duffy's  practice  was  to  interview  the  men  in  the  back  par- 
lor of  a  quiet,  very  well  kept  house  across  the  Grand  Canal  at 
Baggot  Street  Bridge,  where  a  young  man  of  unusual  intelligence 
and  good  manners,  named  Hogan,  was  manager.  On  my  return 
from  a  trip  through  southern  Kildare  and  Queens  County,  on 
which  I  had  been  sent,  I  met  Duffy  there  one  evening  in  Octo- 
ber, in  company  with  General  Halpin,  Colonel  Kelly,  Edmund 
O'Donovan  and  John  Ryan  of  Liverpool.  After  a  preliminary 
lecture  about  stories  of  dissatisfaction  among  the  men  over  lack 
of  preparation,  and  a  rather  extravagant  expression  of  his  per- 
sonal confidence  in  "The  Captain",  Duffy  handed  me  a  letter, 
with  "Dev."  on  the  envelope.  I  opened  it  and  found  a  document 
which  I  took  the  risk  of  preserving;  it  is  in  my  possession  as  I 
write.  I  gave  it  to  my  eldest  sister  for  safe  keeping,  and  she 
sewed  it  up  in  her  muff,  where  it  remained  securely  for  many 
years,  and  I  brought  it  to  America  in  1879  on  my  return  from  a 
trip  to  Ireland.   The  document  was  as  follows: 

"Thursday,  Oct.  26,  1865. 

"My  Dear  Friend: 

"There  is  a  lull  just  now  on  the  part  of  the  enemy,  and 
we  should  make  the  utmost  of  it.  To  this  end  I  hereby  ap- 
point you  Chief  Organizer  of  the  British  troops  here  in 
Ireland.    While  in  this  service  your  allowance  will  be  £3  a 




week,  but  this  sum  must  cover  your  support,  travelling  ex- 
penses and  refreshment  to  any  soldier  you  may  have  to 
meet.  I  also  authorize  you  to  appoint  a  staff  of  eight  men  to 
act  under  you.  Two  of  these  should  be  civilians  and  the 
other  six  soldiers.  All  should  be  staunch,  steady  men.  Use 
your  best  judgment  in  their  appointment,  but  make  them 
rapidly  as  you  can.  The  allowance  to  each  of  the  two  civil- 
ians (your  aides)  may  be  from  15s.  to  £l-10s.  a  week,  accord- 
ing to  the  circumstances  and  requirements  of  the  men.  The 
soldiers  (unless  they  be  men  of  superior  tact  and  judgment) 
should  not  be  given  much  money.  Five  to  ten  shillings  a 
week  would  be  amply  sufficient  for  most  of  them,  but,  should 
you  meet  with  a  really  clever  and  reliable  man,  don't  hesi- 
tate about  allowing  him  £1  a  week.  Should  you  find  it  wise 
to  add  to  the  number  of  your  military  aides,  let  me  know. 
Bearer  will  give  you  £6.  Send  me  weekly  returns  of  expenses. 

"Yours  faithfully, 

"J.  Stephens. 

"P.  S. — Send  off  the  man  you  write  about. 
"Be  very  prudent  now.   You  owe  me  this,  to  justify  the 
appointment  of  so  young  a  man  to  so  responsible  a  post." 

I  never  drew  a  salary  and  never  paid  one  to  any  of  the  assis- 
tants I  appointed.  We  all  subsisted  on  enough  to  barely  pay  our 
expenses.  The  men  I  appointed  were  all  civilians.  I  used  plenty 
of  soldiers  in  the  work,  but  gave  none  of  them  any  more  than  an 
occasional  half  crown  or  shilling,  and  then  only  when  necessary, 
except  to  William  Curry  of  the  87th.  He  was  an  invaluable  man, 
intelligent,  prompt,  reliable,  always  sober,  and  his  expenses  never 
exceeded  £2  a  week,  and  were  usually  under  £1. 

I  hesitated  about  undertaking  the  heavy  responsibility,  but 
Colonel  Kelly  assured  me  he  would  be  always  ready  to  give  me 
direction  and  advice,  so,  with  the  understanding  that  I  would 
report  to  him  every  day  and  take  his  orders,  I  finally  accepted. 
As  there  were  warrants  out  for  both  of  us,  the  arrangement  must 
seem  to  people  of  the  present  day  to  be  rather  reckless,  but  to 
men  with  our  knowledge  of  the  Irish  police  and  our  contempt 
for  their  masters  at  the  Castle,  it  seemed  perfectly  feasible  then. 
And  it  proved  to  be  so  for  four  months  of  incessant  conflict  with 
the  Government,  in  which  every  energy  of  the  officials  was  put 
forth  in  vain. 

I  did  not  make  any  appointments  immediately,  and  some  of 
them  not  for  several  weeks,  but  I  may  as  well  describe  the  men 
now.  Jack  Mullen  was  already  on  the  staff  and  I  kept  him  on 
by  Kelly's  advice,  as  he  had  a  wide  acquaintance  with  the  men  in 
the  regiments  of  the  Dublin  garrison,  and  through  him  I  was 
made  known  to  them.  He  had  an  uncle  in  some  position  in  the 
Castle  who  informed  him  after  we  had  been  working  a  few 
weeks  that  the  police  were  after  him.  So,  as  many  of  the  detec- 



tives  knew  him  I  allowed  him  to  go  over  to  Liverpool  for  safety 
and  I  saw  him  no  more.  The  others  were  Edward  Pilsworth  and 
Denis  Duggan. 

Besides  these,  I  was  usually  accompanied  by  a  group  of  three 
or  four  stalwart  men — all  of  whom  were  "wanted"  by  the  police 
and  could  not  go  home — so  as  to  be  ready  to  resist  arrest.  The 
men  most  often  with  me  besides  Duggan  and  Pilsworth,  were 
Matthew  O'Neill  and  William  Hampson  of  Celbridge,  a  watch- 
maker, who  worked  in  Donegan's  in  Dame  Street. 

Pilsworth,  a  slight,  but  wiry  man,  was  in  the  London  organi- 
zation and  had  come  over  with  a  batch  of  men  for  the  fight 
which  we  all  supposed  would  take  place  before  the  year  1865 
was  out.  Pilsworth  was  the  son  of  an  Irish  troop  sergeant- 
major  of  cavalry,  and  was  born  in  Birmingham  Barracks.  He 
had  a  most  decided  English  accent,  although  he  did  not  drop  his 
"h's",  and  it  enabled  him  to  avoid  detection  for  a  long  time.  He 
went  by  the  name  of  Williams.  He  had  served  with  Garibaldi 
in  Sicily  and  Naples  and,  having  been  brought  up  among  British 
soldiers,  was  a  very  useful  man.  When  arrested  with  me  he  gave 
the  name  of  St.  Clair,  and  after  his  release,  in  order  not  to  lose 
the  credit  for  his  conviction  for  Fenianism,  of  which  he  was  very 
proud,  he  called  himself  Edward  Pilsworth  St.  Clair. 

Denis  Duggan  was  a  Dublin  man  whose  acquaintance  I  first 
made  when  we  were  both  pupils  at  School  Street  Model  School. 
He  was  a  coachmaker  and  was  working  in  London  when  the 
Irish  People  was  seized.  He  belonged  to  the  London  Irish  Volun- 
teers and  hurried  to  Dublin  when  the  news  reached  him,  but  he 
did  a  very  reckless  thing.  Determined  to  come  armed,  instead 
of  taking  his  own  rifle  he  brought  one  belonging  to  a  comrade 
and  left  him  to  face  the  consequences.  I  believe  the  comrade  was 
Michael  Lawlor,  the  sculptor,  a  cousin  of  James  J.  O'Kelly  and 
nephew  of  the  more  famous  sculptor  of  the  same  name.  I  knew 
the  younger  Lawlor  very  well  before  he  left  Dublin. 

Duggan  was  a  very  ingenious  man,  and  he  managed  to  get 
the  rifle  into  Dublin  by  cutting  the  stock  in  sections  and  putting 
the  pieces  under  the  shelving  of  his  tool  chest,  securely  held  by 
clamps  fastened  to  the  shelves  by  short  screws  which  left  no 
marks  on  the  top.  Every  man  coming  into  Ireland  was  searched 
then.  Duggan  calmly  opened  the  trunk  and  stood  by  while  the 
detectives  were  searching  it.  He  lived  in  Echlin  Street,  which 
runs  from  James's  Street  to  the  Grand  Canal  Harbor,  only  a 
short  distance  from  Pilsworth's  public  house,  where  we  were 
later  arrested. 



That  rifle  did  fine  service  on  the  night  of  March  5,  1867,  at 
Stepaside  and  Glencullen,  where  Patrick  Lennon,  a  very  good 
judge  of  such  things,  assured  me  Duggan  was  as  cool  and  col- 
lected as  a  veteran  soldier.  Another  instance  of  Duggan's  in- 
genuity was  his  success  in  smuggling  in  to  me  in  Mount  joy  Prison 
in  1866,  after  he  had  got  out  on  bail,  a  whole  page  of  the  Free- 
man concealed  in  the  scooped  out  back  of  a  clothes-brush,  the 
fastening  being  done  with  screws  deftly  put  in  among  the  bristles. 
I  broke  a  warder's  pen  knife  in  unscrewing  it,  but  the  stump  of 
the  blade  made  a  fine  turnscrew.  The  paper  had  a  full  account 
of  Stephens'  speech  at  Jones'  Wood,  New  York,  which  he  deliv- 
ered on  May  15  of  that  year. 

Duggan  was  one  of  the  men  stationed  outside  the  wall  on  the 
night  of  the  Rescue  of  James  Stephens  from  Richmond  Prison, 
and  later  served  in  the  Rescue  of  the  Fenian  Military  Prisoners 
from  Western  Australia  in  1876.  Soon  after  that,  he  fell  into 
bad  health,  returned  to  Dublin  and  died  there. 

O'Neill  I  knew  from  the  time  we  met  in  an  Irish  class  in  1858. 
He  died  in  Dublin  in  1904. 

Hampson,  the  son  of  an  Englishman  who  settled  in  Celbridge, 
County  Kildare,  had  charge  of  that  district  under  Roantree.  He 
died  of  yellow  fever  in  Cuba  in  the  early  '70's  while  laying  tele- 
graph wires. 

The  most  efficient  and  useful  man  I  had  assisting  me  in  the 
work  was  William  Curry,  a  corporal  in  the  87th,  who  came  over 
from  Portsmouth  towards  the  end  of  1865  with  twenty  men  of  the 
regiment.  They  got  excited  on  hearing  the  news  of  the  arrests 
and  trials  and  this  detachment  was  sent  as  a  vanguard,  with 
the  assurance  that  when  the  word  was  given  the  regiment  would 
seize  a  steamer  and  land  on  the  Irish  coast.  Curry  was  the 
Centre  of  the  regiment,  which  was  wholly  Irish,  but,  while  their 
sentiments  were  all  right,  Curry,  a  very  prudent  man,  carefully 
selected  the  men  to  be  sworn  in  and  they  numbered  only  200.  The 
rest  he  knew  he  could  have,  but  they  were  rough,  reckless  fel- 
lows whom  he  thought  it  better  to  leave  unsworn. 

The  twenty  men  of  the  87th  were  a  typical  lot  of  Irish  soldiers. 
They  were  all  powerfully  built  men,  though  not  all  tall.  The 
shortest  period  that  any  of  them  had  served  was  five  years,  and 
one  Clareman  named  Penn  had  seen  eighteen  years'  service. 
Three  years  more  would  retire  him  on  pension.  They  got  thirty 
days'  furlough  each  and  thirty  shillings  for  thirty  days'  pay.  Out 
of  this  they  each  paid  ten  shillings  for  their  passage  to  Dublin 
on  the  London  steamer  which  called  at  Portsmouth,  Southamp- 
ton, Plymouth  and  Falmouth  on  its  way  to  Dublin.  When  their 



furlough  had  expired  and  they  found  that  the  fight  had  been 
postponed,  they  decided  to  remain  and  we  had  to  provide  them 
with  civilian  clothes.  We  had  put  them  on  Is.  6d.  a  day  subsis- 
tence money  soon  after  their  arrival,  and  they  stood  their  ground, 
ready  for  any  emergency  until,  one  by  one,  they  were  all  arrested 
during  the  course  of  the  next  few  months.  As  not  a  man  of 
them  turned  informer  they  could  only  be  punished  for  deser- 
tion and  making  away  with  their  kits.  They  all  got  the  longest 
terms  the  military  law  allowed. 

Two  of  them  were  exceptions  to  this,  Curry  and  another  cor- 
poral named  Tierney,  a  Clareman.  Curry  was  convicted  on  the 
evidence  of  informers  from  other  regiments  that  he  had  attended 
meetings  with  me  and  carried  messages  to  the  men  in  the  bar- 
racks. He  was  sentenced  to  two  years  and  fifty  lashes. 

A  report  of  the  flogging,  clipped  from  the  Daily  Express,  was 
smuggled  into  Mountjoy  Prison  to  P.  J.  McDonnell  in  a  boiled 
potato  and,  as  he  was  in  the  next  cell  to  me,  he  passed  me  the 
clipping.  It  said  that  during  the  flogging  Curry  never  winced 
or  moved  a  muscle.  When  I  met  him  in  New  York  in  1871  and 
told  him  this,  he  said:  "Be  japers,  John,  I  had  a  sixpence  between 
my  teeth." 

The  spirit  and  character  of  these  men  of  the  87th  may  be 
judged  from  one  incident.  In  getting  them  civilian  clothes  we  did 
not  think  of  shirts.  Curry  paid  them  their  Is.  6d.  a  day  every 
morning,  but  a  few  days  after  the  change  Gilligan,  a  stalwart 
King's  County  man,  who  had  served  eight  years,  failed  to  turn 
up  at  roll  call  and  we  feared  he  had  been  arrested.  Some  hours 
later  he  appeared  and,  in  reply  to  my  question,  said  he  had 
been  "foraging"  and  pointed  to  a  clean,  but  unironed  white  shirt, 
which  he  had  on.  He  explained  that  he  had  gone  out  to  Kim- 
mage  and  finding  several  dry  shirts  hanging  on  a  line,  took  one 
of  them  and  left  his  own  in  its  place.  "Exchange  is  no  robbery," 
he  explained,  and  then  added:  "I  don't  mind  takin'  me  chances 
of  bein'  killed  fightin',  but,  be  japers,  I  don't  want  to  be  stood 
up  agin'  a  wall  an'  shot  like  a  dog  as  a  deserter." 

I  then  found  that  they  all  wanted  to  get  rid  of  every  vestige 
of  their  military  clothing,  for  the  same  reason  as  Gilligan  urged. 
As  the  military  shirts  were  very  serviceable,  the  Dublin  men 
had  no  objection  to  wearing  them,  so  they  were  all  exchanged 
before  night. 

While  Curry  had  his  uniform  he  visited  the  barracks  every 
day  with  his  furlough  in  his  pocket,  carried  messages  to  such 
men  as  I  wanted  to  see,  arranged  for  meetings,  ascertained  the 
strength  of  the  guards  and  pickets,  how  many  Irishmen  were  in 



each  and  the  number  of  our  friends,  and  did  any  other  work 
that  was  required.  He  reported  to  me  several  times  a  day  and 
always  accompanied  me  to  meetings.  As  he  was  five  feet  eleven 
inches  in  height  and  powerfully  built,  carried  a  revolver,  was  a 
good  collar-and-elbow  wrestler  and  handy  with  his  fists,  to  say 
nothing  of  his  cool  courage,  his  presence  at  these  meetings  was 
very  useful.  To  arrest  a  party  consisting  of  Curry,  O'Neill, 
Hampson,  Duggan,  Pilsworth,  myself  and  several  others,  would 
require  a  strong  force  of  police.  But  Curry  was  surprised 
asleep  in  bed  one  night,  if  I  remember  rightly,  in  the  house  of 
Patrick  Merrigan,  afterwards  very  well  known  in  New  York. 
Curry  went  from  New  York  to  Australia  in  1877  and  I  have  never 
heard  from  him  since. 

Corporal  Tierney  was  not  arrested  until  he  made  an  attempt 
to  kill  Warner,  the  old  army  pensioner  who  had  drilled  the  Cork 
Fenians  and  turned  informer  to  save  himself.  Tierney  was  sen- 
tenced to  imprisonment  for  life  and  after  spending  many  years 
in  Spike  Island  was  released,  utterly  broken  in  health,  and  came 
to  America.  He  died  in  New  Haven,  Conn.,  and  the  Clan-na- 
Gael  of  that  city,  through  the  efforts  of  Captain  Larry  O'Brien, 
erected  a  fine  monument  over  his  grave. 

Next  to  John  Boyle  O'Reilly  (with  whom  I  will  deal  in  a  sepa- 
rate chapter),  the  most  intelligent  and  best  educated  of  the 
Fenian  soldiers  was  Thomas  Chambers,  who  was  Centre  of  the 
61st.  It  was  supposed  to  be  an  English  regiment,  but  there  were 
not  a  hundred  men  in  it  who  were  not  Irish  and  there  were  600 
Fenians.  It  was  the  banner  Fenian  regiment.  Chambers  was 
born  in  Kilkenny  and  had  a  brother,  James,  who  was  a  Centre 
in  the  North  of  England  and  came  over  to  Dublin  before  the  end 
of  1865. 

Chambers  was  arrested  with  me,  tried  by  court-martial,  sen- 
tenced to  death,  and  the  sentence  was  commuted  to  penal  servi- 
tude for  life.  He  was  with  me  a  good  deal  in  Portland  and  Mill- 
bank.  He  was  released  with  Sergeant  McCarthy  and  John  P. 
O'Brien,  the  only  remaining  Fenian  military  prisoners  in  England 
in  1878,  and  was  at  the  breakfast  given  by  Parnell  at  Morrison's 
Hotel  in  Dublin  on  January  15th  when  poor  McCarthy  dropped 
dead.  Chambers  remained  in  Dublin  for  some  years  after  his 
release,  and  I  met  him  at  a  meeting  there  in  1879.  Soon  after 
that  he  came  to  America,  but  his  health  broke  down  and  he  died 
in  the  South  in  the  early  'eighties. 

John  P.  O'Brien,  as  I  remember,  was  born  in  London  of  Tip- 
perary  parents,  and  he  was  twenty  years  of  age  when  he  came 
over  "for  the  fight"  in  1865.  His  father  was  a  district  postmaster 



in  London  and  when  the  fight  was  put  off  in  December,  1865,  he 
did  not  want  to  return  to  London,  fearing  that  his  father  would 
prevent  him  coming  back  when  needed.  So  he  enlisted  in  one  of 
the  regiments  stationed  in  Dublin,  in  order  to  be  on  hand  when 
wanted.  He  was  not  on  my  staff,  however.  He  was  convicted 
and  sentenced  to,  I  believe,  fifteen  years'  imprisonment. 

Another  very  useful  man  was  the  Centre  of  the  Third  Buffs, 
a  Tipperary  man  named  Fennessy.  He  was  in  the  regiment  of 
Tipperary  militia  which  mutineed  some  time  in  the  'fifties,  on  a 
demand  to  be  allowed  to  retain  their  trousers,  and,  like  many 
others  of  the  mutineers,  enlisted  in  the  Line  to  escape  punish- 
ment. He  also  came  over  from  England  on  furlough  and  was 
useful  for  carrying  messages  into  the  barracks.  He  was  a  quiet, 
sober,  intelligent  man. 

Sergeant  McCarthy  I  never  met  until  we  were  both  in  Port- 
land Prison  and  his  health  was  even  then  visibly  breaking  down. 

With  all  these  men  acting  either  as  regular  assistants  or  as 
volunteer  aides,  I  had  a  very  efficient  staff,  as  well  as  a  sturdy 
bodyguard,  and  the  work  in  the  army  went  on  with  great  vigor 
until  the  repeated  postponements  of  the  fight  made  conditions 
hopeless,  and  the  best  men  in  the  regiments  in  Dublin  and  some 
in  other  places  were  arrested. 



The  Outstanding  Figure  Among  the  Soldier  Fenians — Escaped 
from  British  Penal  Colony  in  Western  Australia — Poet  and 

The  most  remarkable  man  among  the  Fenians  in  the  British 
army  was  by  long  odds  John  Boyle  O'Reilly,  who  later  became 
editor  of  the  Boston  Pilot  and  won  fame  as  a  poet  in  America. 
His  first  poem,  "The  Old  School  Clock",  was  written  in  Arbor 
Hill  Military  Prison,  while  he  was  awaiting  trial  for  Fenianism. 

O'Reilly  was  born  at  Dowth  Castle,  on  the  Meath  side  of  the 
Boyne,  six  miles  from  Drogheda,  on  June  28,  1844.  The  old  Castle 
had  been  turned  by  Viscount  Netterville,  its  owner,  into  an  insti- 
tution for  widows  and  orphans,  with  a  National  School  attached. 
William  David  O'Reilly,  John's  father,  was  master  of  the  school. 
He  gave  his  son  the  beginning  of  a  good  education  which  he 
completed  out  in  the  world  later  on.  At  eleven  years  of  age  he 
became  a  printer's  apprentice  on  the  Drogheda  Argus,  but  after 
four  years  the  proprietor  died  and  he  was  obliged  to  finish  his 
apprenticeship  on  the  Guardian  in  Preston,  Lancashire,  where 
he  went  to  live  with  a  maternal  aunt  who  had  married  an 
English  Catholic  sea  captain  named  Watkinson.  Later  he  learned 
shorthand  and  became  a  reporter  on  the  same  paper. 

In  Preston  he  got  his  first  taste  of  soldiering  in  a  company  of 
English  Volunteers.  Going  back  to  Ireland  in  1863,  he  enlisted 
in  the  Tenth  Hussars,  then  stationed  in  Dundalk. 

O'Reilly's  career  is  so  well  known  to  Irishmen  everywhere  that 
it  is  hardly  necessary  to  go  into  details  here,  except  as  to  his 
work  for  Fenianism  in  the  army  during  four  eventful  months, 
from  October,  1865,  to  February,  1866,  when  he  was  arrested.  He 
was  the  Centre  of  the  Tenth  Hussars. 

He  was  a  Fenian  before  he  enlisted,  but  the  statement  made 
by  James  Jeffrey  Roche  in  his  "Life  of  John  Boyle  O'Reilly"  that 
he  joined  the  army  for  the  purpose  of  spreading  the  organiza- 
tion among  the  soldiers  is  an  error.  He  enlisted  because,  like 
many  other  Irishmen,  he  liked  soldiering,  and  the  best  proof 
that  he  did  not  have  such  an  intention  is  found  in  the  fact  that 
he  was  more  than  two  years  in  the  service  before  he  did  any  work 





for  the  movement.  I  had  been  working  for  some  weeks  on  the 
regiment  before  I  even  knew  of  his  existence  and  none  of  my 
predecessors  had  any  knowledge  of  him. 

I  met  O'Reilly  first  in  October,  1865,  under  circumstances  that 
were  characteristic  of  the  time.  In  my  daily  reports  to  Colonel 
Kelly  I  had  informed  him  that  the  Tenth  Hussars,  then  quartered 
at  Island  Bridge  Barracks,  in  the  southwestern  part  of  Dublin, 
was  the  only  regiment  with  which  I  was  making  no  progress. 
I  was  anxious  to  do  the  best  I  could  with  it  on  account  of  the 
location  of  the  barracks  and  the  fact  that  in  Richmond  Barracks, 
close  by,  the  Sixty-first  and  a  battalion  of  the  Sixtieth  Rifles 
were  stationed,  and  were  both  well  organized.  These  two  bar- 
racks controlled  the  roads  leading  to  the  Southwest  and  the 
Great  Southern  and  Western  Railroad.  The  men  of  the  Tenth 
were  mainly  English,  but  there  were  over  a  hundred  Irishmen 
among  them  and  it  was  the  crack  light  cavalry  regiment  of  the 
British  army.  It  was  called  "The  Prince  of  Wales's  Own".  Col- 
onel Baker,  Its  commander  (afterwards  Baker  Pasha  of  the 
Turkish  army) ,  was  reputed  to  be  the  best  cavalry  officer  in  the 
British  service.  The  few  men  I  had  in  the  Tenth  were  not  of 
much  account  and  I  could  make  no  headway.  This  situation  was 
speedily  changed  after  I  met  O'Reilly. 

At  Colonel  Kelly's  address  in  Grantham  Street  one  day  I  met 
by  appointment  a  young  veterinary  surgeon  from  Drogheda 
named  Harry  Byrne  who  knew  O'Reilly  well,  and,  on  account  of 
his  profession,  had  a  wide  acquaintance  in  the  Tenth,  which  had 
recently  been  stationed  at  Dundalk.  He  had  already  told  Kelly 
that  O'Reilly  was  a  member,  that  he  belonged  to  a  much  re- 
spected family,  and  was  the  man  for  the  work  in  the  regiment. 
In  half  an  hour  Byrne  and  I  were  on  our  way  to  Island  Bridge 
on  an  outside  car,  which  we  dismissed  some  distance  away  and 
went  into  the  barracks.  In  the  barrack  square  we  met  a  troop 
sergeant  major  whom  Byrne  knew,  a  bluff,  hearty  Englishman 
of  the  best  type.  He  told  us  that  O'Reilly  was  on  picket  at  the 
Royal  Barracks.  There  were  heavy  pickets  of  infantry  and 
cavalry  kept  in  readiness  for  emergencies  at  certain  points  in 
Dublin  during  that  period.  The  Englishman  insisted  on  our 
going  into  the  canteen  and  having  a  drink  and  a  chat  and  we 
went.  He  was  such  a  frank,  manly  fellow  that  we  felt  bad  at 
having  to  deceive  him,  but  military  necessity  reconciled  us  to  the 
deception.  He  praised  O'Reilly  to  the  skies,  said  he  was  the  best 
young  soldier  in  the  regiment,  and  predicted  a  great  future  for 
him.  "I  shouldn't  wonder,"  he  said  "if  in  five  or  six  years  that 
young  fellow'd  be  a  troop  sawjent  majah."  And  if  O'Reilly  had 
remained  a  hussar  that  would  have  been  the  end  of  him. 


We  went  to  the  Royal  Barracks  on  the  other  side  of  the 
Liffey.  The  sentry  at  the  gate  was  a  soldier  of  the  Eighth  Foot, — 
"The  Eighth  King's",  I  believe  they  called  it — and  he  gave  me  a 
smile  of  recognition.  He  was  a  Fenian,  and  another  member  of 
the  guard  stepped  up  to  me  and  asked  if  I  was  looking  for  some 
of  the  boys.  I  told  him  I  wanted  to  find  the  picket  of  the  Tenth 
Hussars  and  he  directed  me  to  the  spot  where  some  men  of  the 
Fifth  Dragoon  Guards  were  on  stable  duty,  and  they  were 
nearly  all  our  men.  One  of  them  hailed  me  as  I  came  up;  it  was 
Martin  Hogan,  one  of  the  six  men  later  rescued  in  Western 
Australia.  After  a  handshake  with  half  a  dozen  others  Hogan 
showed  us  where  to  go.  The  hussars  of  the  picket  were  loung- 
ing about,  with  no  officer  near  them.  Byrne  went  up  to  a  ser- 
geant, told  him  he  was  a  friend  of  O'Reilly  from  Drogheda,  and 
he  was  at  once  shown  where  he  was.  He  was  in  the  stable  tight- 
ening his  saddle  girths,  getting  ready  to  mount  and  start  off  to 
the  Viceregal  Lodge  with  a  despatch  to  the  Lord  Lieutenant 
from  Sir  Hugh  Rose,  Commander  of  the  Forces  in  Ireland. 

In  1890,  when  O'Reilly  died  and  when  my  recollection  was 
much  clearer  than  it  is  now,  I  wrote  for  the  Chicago  Herald  a 
description  of  him  as  he  appeared  then  and  which  Roche  copied 
into  his  book.  It  said: 

"Byrne  had  just  time  to  introduce  us  and  O'Reilly  and  I 
to  make  an  appointment  for  the  next  evening,  when  he 
brought  out  his  horse,  sprang  into  the  saddle  and  was  off. 
O'Reilly  was  then  a  handsome,  lithely  built  young  fellow 
of  twenty,  with  the  down  of  a  future  black  moustache  on 
his  lip.  He  had  a  pair  of  beautiful  dark  eyes  that  changed 
in  expression  with  his  varying  emotions.  He  wore  the  full- 
dress  dark  blue  hussar  uniform,  with  its  mass  of  braiding 
across  the  breast,  and  the  busby,  with  its  tossing  plume,  was 
set  jauntily  on  the  head  and  held  by  a  linked  brass  strap, 
catching  under  the  lower  lip." 

I  should  have  made  his  age  twenty-one,  but  I  wrote  from 
recollection  and  in  haste.  He  was  so  proud  of  his  showy  uniform 
that  he  often,  as  he  related  in  after  life,  rode  out  of  his  way  when 
acting  as  a  special  courier,  so  that  he  could  pass  a  shop  with  a 
great  plate  glass  window  in  which  he  could  see  the  full  reflection 
of  himself  and  his  horse  as  he  went  by. 

When  I  met  him  the  next  evening  he  told  me  he  was  often 
selected  to  carry  despatches  between  Sir  Hugh  Rose  and  Lord 
Wodehouse,  who  was  then  Viceroy,  and  he  offered,  if  we  would 
arrange  a  place  for  him  to  stop  on  the  way,  to  let  us  steam  the 
despatches  open,  close  them  again,  and  he  would  then  ride  on 
and  deliver  them.  That  showed  the  bold,  daring  character  of 
the  man.  I  at  once  reported  the  offer  to  Colonel  Kelly,  who  said 
that  at  that  stage  the  despatches  would  hardly  contain  anything 


of  great  importance,  that  the  tampering  with  them  would  prob- 
ably be  at  once  discovered,  and  a  valuable  man  sacrificed  for 
very  little  information.  But  he  said  that  later,  when  important 
movements  of  troops  were  about  to  be  made,  he  would  avail 
himself  of  O'Reilly's  offer.  When  that  time  came  O'Reilly  was  a 
prisoner  and  most  of  the  Fenian  regiments  were  gone.  But  if 
the  Rising  had  taken  place  at  the  time  originally  named  and 
when  we  were  best  able  to  fight,  he  and  all  the  best  Fenians  in 
the  British  army  would  have  been  ready  to  answer  the  call. 

I  may  quote  again  from  the  article  in  the  Chicago  Herald: 

"From  that  time  till  the  following  February,  when  we  were 
both  arrested  within  a  few  days  of  each  other,  I  saw  him  al- 
most every  day.  When  on  guard  or  picket  duty  he  never 
failed  to  communicate  with  me,  through  William  Curry — a 
furloughed  corporal  of  the  Eighty-Seventh  Foot,  the  famous 
'Faugh-a-Ballaghs',  who  could  go  in  and  out  of  the  bar- 
racks,— every  change  worth  knowing  in  the  location  and 
strength  of  the  guards  and  pickets.  He  brought  me  some 
eighty  men  to  be  sworn  in,  had  them  divided  into  two  pros- 
pective troops,  obtained  possession  of  the  keys  of  an  unused 
postern  gate,  and  had  everything  ready  to  take  his  men, 
armed  and  mounted,  out  of  the  barracks  at  a  given  signal. 
The  signal  never  came,  and  all  his  and  other  men's  risks  and 
sacrifices  were  thrown  away  through  incompetent  and  nerve- 
less leadership." 

In  working  out  his  plan  for  taking  out  his  two  troops  O'Reilly 
made  a  very  good  rough  map  of  the  section  of  the  city  in  which 
Island  Bridge  and  Richmond  Barracks  were  situated.  When  he 
showed  it  to  me  in  an  upper  room  of  Hoey's  public  house  in 
Bridgefoot  Street,  some  of  the  Eighty-seventh  men  were  present, 
and  an  old  soldier  named  Penn  attacked  O'Reilly  for  presumption, 
asking  him  did  he  think  that  "these  gintlemin"  hadn't  all  of  that 
kind  of  thing  that  they  wanted.  Unfortunately  they  had  not,  but 
the  veteran's  supposition  was  natural.  I  had  provided  myself 
long  before  that  with  an  Ordnance  Survey  map  in  sections  and 
Colonel  Kelly  had  another,  but  maps  were  not  plentiful  among 
the  Fenians,  although  they  knew  the  country  very  well. 

Although  O'Reilly  developed  into  a  poet  of  considerable  ability 
in  America,  he  had  at  that  time  a  good  military  head.  His  vanity 
about  his  uniform,  his  trappings  and  his  horse  was  a  feeling 
common  to  all  young  soldiers,  but  his  ideas  about  the  capture 
of  Dublin,  and  the  way  to  get  out  of  the  city  with  our  forces 
intact,  in  case  we  failed,  were  all  practical.  Mere  boy  as  he  was, 
he  believed  that  the  blow  ought  to  be  struck  in  Dublin,  where 
our  organization  was  strongest  and  our  membership  in  the  Brit- 
ish army  was  largest.  The  plan  of  "taking  to  the  hills",  which 
was  afterwards  adopted — mainly  because  the  organization  in  the 
army  had  been  broken  up — did  not  appeal  to  him  at  all.  During 



the  four  months  of  his  activity  his  zeal  was  unflagging.  He 
turned  up  for  work  every  evening  that  he  was  off  duty  and  spent 
a  good  deal  of  time  with  me,  outside  of  the  gatherings  where 
work  was  done,  discussing  plans.  These  talks  were  mostly  car- 
ried on  while  walking  along  unfrequented  streets. 

O'Reilly  was  arrested  on  February  14,  1866,  and  as  he  was  led 
across  the  barrack  square,  Colonel  Baker,  of  whom  O'Reilly  was 
a  great  favorite,  was  passing.  The  Colonel  shook  his  fist  at  him 
in  anger  and  said:  "Damn  you,  O'Reilly,  you  have  ruined  the 
finest  regiment  in  Her  Majesty's  service."  When  the  Colonel  was 
testifying  before  the  court-martial  later  on,  that  O'Reilly  had 
failed  to  give  him  any  information  of  an  intended  mutiny, 
O'Reilly  asked  him:  "What  character  do  I  bear  in  the  regiment?" 
The  Colonel  replied:  "A  good  character."  Captain  Barthorp  of 
O'Reilly's  own  troop,  who  was  a  member  of  the  court-martial, 
swore  that  he  knew  the  prisoner  for  three  years  and  his  char- 
acter was  good.  Adjutant  Russell  of  the  Tenth  Hussars  (after- 
wards well  known  as  Lord  Odo  Russell)  testified  that  his  char- 
acter was  good  "during  his  whole  three  years  and  thirty-one 
days  of  service."  Captain  Russell  afterwards  succeeded  in  hav- 
ing O'Reilly's  sentence  of  imprisonment  for  life  commuted  to 
twenty  years,  on  the  ground  of  his  youth.  The  sentence  had 
originally  been  death,  but  as  in  all  such  cases,  it  had  been  changed 
to  life  imprisonment. 

Captain  Whelan  of  the  Sixty-first,  an  Irish  Catholic,  who  was 
the  prosecutor  at  the  courtsmartial,  was  an  expert  suborner  of 
perjury.  It  was  he  who  secured  all  the  informers  except  the  two 
willing  ones,  by  the  infamous  methods  which  prevail  in  Irish 
conspiracy  cases.  He  went  from  cell  to  cell  in  Arbor  Hill  Mili- 
tary Prison,  where  the  soldiers  charged  with  Fenianism  were  on 
starvation  diet,  telling  each  man  that  the  others  had  all  turned 
informers  and  that  I  had  supplied  to  the  Castle  a  list  of  all  the 
men  I  had  sworn  in.  Several  of  them  broke  down  and  he  schooled 
and  drilled  them  in  the  evidence  they  were  to  give,  turning  mere 
taproom  conversations,  with  outsiders  present,  into  "meetings" 
and  making  them  put  the  word  "Fenian"  in  when  necessary — a 
word  that  was  never  once  used  in  the  talks  between  the  soldiers 
and  the  civilian  organizers. 

This  "Irish  gentleman"  had  told  every  arrested  man  of  the 
Tenth  that  O'Reilly  had  informed  on  them  all  and  pleaded  with 
them  to  save  themselves  by  telling  all  they  knew.  He  had  fre- 
quently pleaded  with  O'Reilly,  and  when  he  came  on  the  eve  of 
the  trial  to  make  his  last  appeal  to  the  man  about  whom  he  had 
lied  so  cruelly  and  asked  him  to  save  himself  by  selling  his  com- 



rades,  he  was  accompanied,  as  usual,  by  a  warder.  The  warder 
was  an  old  soldier  and  an  Englishman.  As  Whelan  got  the  last 
refusal  from  O'Reilly,  he  (Whelan)  left  the  cell  with  a  threat 
of  the  dire  consequences  that  would  follow.  The  old  soldier, 
while  Whelan  was  still  there,  said:  "Yes,  O'Reilly,  you'd  better 
do  as  the  Captain  says."  Then  as  he  was  closing  the  cell  door, 
he  added  in  a  low,  but  stern  voice:  "And,  damme,  I'd  like  to 
choke  you  with  my  own  hands  if  you  do." 

The  worst  of  the  informers  against  O'Reilly,  as  against  most  of 
the  other  soldier  Fenians,  was  a  private  in  the  Fifth  Dragoon 
Guards,  named  Patrick  Foley,  who  hailed  from  Waterford.  He 
was  really  a  spy  who  went  into  the  movement  for  the  deliberate 
purpose  of  betraying  it.  He  was  driven  out  of  the  Army  later 
by  the  dog's  life  he  had  to  lead.  The  old  warder  referred  to  above 
had  the  soldier's  point  of  view  about  spies.  Every  one  of  the 
military  informers,  to  save  them  from  incessant  persecution  and 
assault,  had  to  be  transferred  to  other  regiments  and  when  dis- 
covered again  were  driven  out,  the  Englishmen  joining  with  the 
Irish  in  making  their  lives  a  burden  to  them.  In  the  next  chap- 
ter I  cite  how  Foley  was  befriended  by  O'Reilly  years  later.  But 
he  died  in  misery  soon  after. 

The  mention  of  this  particular  informer  reminds  me  of  a 
namesake  of  his,  William  Foley,  also  a  Waterford  man,  who  was 
one  of  our  best  and  most  faithful  Fenian  men  in  the  English 
army.  Bill  Foley,  who  had  become  a  victim  of  heart  disease,  was 
out  on  ticket-of-leave  when  John  J.  Breslin  arrived  in  Western 
Australia  to  rescue  the  military  prisoners  and  he  sent  the  poor 
fellow  to  New  York.  He  died  in  St.  Vincent's  Hospital  after  his 
rescued  comrades  had  arrived  on  the  Catalpa,  and  was  given  a 
fine  public  funeral. 

The  courtsmartial  must  be  dealt  with  in  a  separate  chapter. 
After  conviction  the  Fenian  soldiers  were  removed  to  Mount  joy 
Prison,  Dublin,  thence  to  Pentonville,  later  to  Millbank  (both  in 
London) ,  where  they  finished  their  "probation"  or  separate 
period  of  imprisonment.  Then  they  were  removed  to  the  "public 
works"  prison  at  Chatham,  then  to  Portsmouth  and  later  to 
Dartmoor.  These  frequent  removals  suggest  fear  on  the  part  of 
the  Government  of  attempts  at  rescue  of  the  soldier  prisoners  by 
their  friends  outside.  In  Chatham,  O'Reilly  and  two  others  actu- 
ally made  an  attempt  to  escape  and  were  severely  punished. 

In  October,  1867,  all  the  convicted  soldiers  except  McCarthy, 
Chambers  and  O'Brien,  were  removed  to  Portland  Prison,  from 
which,  with  a  number  of  civilian  prisoners,  they  were  sent  to  the 
Penal  Colony  of  Western  Australia  on  the  old  captured  French 



ship,  the  Houguemont.  On  January  10,  1868,  they  landed  at  Fre- 
mantle,  West  Australia.  Of  O'Reilly's  life  in  the  penal  settle- 
ment, when  on  a  "road  party",  I  will  record  one  incident.  For  being 
late  returning  to  the  camp  he  was  sentenced  to  six  months'  soli- 
tary confinement.  The  overseer  held  in  his  hand  a  letter  with 
black  borders  on  it  and  said:  "O'Reilly,  here  is  a  letter  for  you." 
O'Reilly  said,  "Thank  you,"  and  held  out  his  hand.  The  official 
looked  at  him,  evidently  enjoying  the  torture  he  was  inflicting, 
and  then  said:  "You  will  get  it  in  six  months."  The  letter  an- 
nounced the  death  of  his  mother,  whom  he  knew  from  the  last 
news  he  had  received  to  be  very  sick.  But  I  must  say  from  some 
experience  of  English  prison  officials  that  this  brute  was  not  an 
average  specimen. 

The  thrilling  story  of  his  escape,  by  the  aid  of  Father  McCabe 
and  two  Irish-Australians  named  Maguire,  to  the  American 
whaler  Gazelle,  commanded  by  Captain  David  R.  Gifford  and 
having  on  board  as  one  of  the  mates  Captain  Henry  C.  Hathaway, 
who  saved  him  from  recapture  in  an  English  port  in  the  Indian 
Ocean,  is  too  long  to  repeat  here.  I  shall  merely  append  the  fol- 
lowing official  notice  of  the  escape  from  the  Police  Gazette  of  the 
Penal  Colony: 


"20 — John  B.  O'Reilly,  registered  No.  9843;  arrived  in  the 
colony  per  convict  ship  Houguemont  in  1868;  sentenced  to 
twenty  years  9th  July,  1886.  Description — Healthy  appear- 
ance; present  age  25  years;  5  feet  iy2  inches  high,  black  hair, 
brown  eyes,  oval  visage,  dark  complexion:  an  Irishman.  Ab- 
sconded from  Convict  Road  Party,  Bunbury,  on  the  18th  of 
February,  1869." 

After  an  eventful  voyage  O'Reilly  landed  in  Philadelphia  on 
November  23,  1869,  destined  to  go  through  some  hardships  and 
undergo  many  disappointments — chiefly  owing  to  the  demoral- 
ized condition  of  the  Fenian  movement  brought  about  by  the 
Split.  He  went  as  a  correspondent  for  the  Boston  Pilot  to  the 
last  Raid  on  Canada  in  1870,  took  part  in  one  of  the  fights, 
and  then  became  editor  of  that  paper. 

Further  reference  to  his  distinguished  career  in  America  would 
be  out  of  place  here.  I  shall  merely  add  that  he  died  in  1890, 
as  he  had  lived,  true  to  the  Irish  National  Cause.  For  three  or 
four  years  after  his  arrival  in  America  he  felt  some  resentment 
against  the  "American"  wing  of  the  Fenian  organization  which 
found  expression  in  editorials  in  the  Pilot  and  in  private  letters 
which  have  since  been  published.  That  resentment  was  shared 
for  a  time  by  the  released  Fenian  prisoners  who  arrived  in  New 
York  in  1871,  but  in  the  latter  case  it  speedily  disappeared  when 



they  came  to  realize  the  entire  good  faith  of  the  men  on  both 
sides  in  the  disastrous  Split.  In  O'Reilly's  case  it  ended  with 
his  intimate  knowledge  of  the  plans  of  the  Clan-na-Gael  to  lib- 
erate his  fellow-prisoners  in  Australia. 

Although  O'Reilly  ceased  in  1870  (at  the  request  of  the  Arch- 
bishop of  Boston)  to  be  a  member  of  the  Clan-na-Gael,  he 
was  consulted  by  its  leaders  in  every  important  emergency,  from 
the  Rescue  of  the  military  prisoners  in  1876  to  the  starting  of  the 
"New  Departure"  in  1878,  and  through  the  whole  course  of  the 
Land  League.  I  have  hundreds  of  his  letters,  written  during  all 
these  years  up  to  a  short  time  before  his  death  which  fully  prove 
this  assertion  and  flatly  contradict  the  statements  of  latter-day 
renegades  that  John  Boyle  O'Reilly  had  ceased  to  believe  in  real 
Irish  Nationality,  or  was  not  ready  to  take  a  soldier's  part  in  its 
accomplishment  if  the  opportunity  should  come. 



courtsmartial  held  in  royal  barracks,  dublin,  in  1866 — most 
of  Military  Prisoners  Told  Only  Enough  to  Save  Them- 
selves— Sentences  of  Death  Commuted. 

Fenianism  was  in  a  bad  way  in  Ireland  in  1866.  The  chief 
features  of  the  year  were  the  courtsmartial  on  the  arrested  sol- 
diers. They  were  held  in  the  Royal  Barracks  (now  Collins  Bar- 
racks) in  the  middle  of  the  Summer  and  were  intended  to  destroy 
the  organization  in  the  British  army  and  strike  terror  into  the  dis- 
affected soldiers  who  were  at  that  time  the  chief  hope  of  the 
movement.  They  did  not  succeed  in  striking  terror,  but  between 
them  and  the  removal  of  the  good  regiments  the  soldiers'  organi- 
zation was  effectually  broken  up  and  shattered. 

Edward  Duffy,  who  was  left  in  charge  of  the  movement  in  the 
absence  of  Stephens  and  Col.  Kelly  in  America,  had  no  money 
to  pay  counsel  to  defend  the  men,  while  the  funds  of  the  Ladies' 
Committee  (which  had  paid  for  the  defense  of  the  civilian 
prisoners)  were  exhausted  and  large  sums  stolen  by  Richard 
Pigott,  through  whose  paper,  the  Irishman,  they  were  collected. 
Everything  that  happened  was  of  a  depressing  character  and  it 
is  a  wonder,  under  the  circumstances,  that  the  organization 
survived.  But  it  did. 

A  full  report  of  the  courtsmartial  would  require  a  separate 
volume,  but,  as  the  evidence  against  the  soldiers  was  practically 
the  same  in  every  case,  I  need  only  give  here  the  trial  of  John 
Boyle  O'Reilly  (with  the  correction  of  a  few  errors)  from 

James  Jeffrey  Roche's  Life  of  O'Reilly. 

I  was  in  Mountjoy  Prison,  awaiting  trial,  for  over  a  year 
after  February,  1866,  and  in  English  jails  for  the  next  four, 
so  I  was  not  in  a  position  to  get  the  facts  personally.  Roche's 
book  is  now  out  of  print,  but  many  copies  are  still  to  be  found 
in  second  hand  book  shops  in  Boston  and  New  York.  It  ought  to 
be  read  by  those  who  wish  to  acquaint  themselves  with  the  Irish 
situation  during  a  most  interesting  period,  although  there  are 
many  errors  in  it,  on  account  of  the  author's  desire  to  heap 
praise  on  the  man  he  worshipped. 

O'Reilly's  trial  began  on  June  27,  1866,  the  eve  of  his  twenty- 
second  birthday,  and  went  on  for  several  days.    The  charge 



against  him  was:  "Having  at  Dublin,  in  January,  1866,  come  to 
the  knowledge  of  an  intended  mutiny  of  Her  Majesty's  Forces  in 
Ireland,  and  not  giving  information  of  said  intended  mutiny  to 
his  commanding  officer." 

The  courtmartial  was  constituted  as  follows:  President,  Col- 
onel Sawyer,  Sixth  Dragoon  Guards;  Prosecutor,  Captain  Whelan, 
Eighth  Regiment,  assisted  by  Mr.  Landy,  Q.  C.  The  Judge  Advo- 
cate was  advised  by  Mr.  Johnson.  The  prisoner  was  defended 
by  Mr.  O'Loughlen,  advised  by  Mr.  John  Lawless,  solicitor. 

The  other  officers  of  the  courtmartial  were:  Lieut.  Col. 
Maunsell,  Major  Drew  and  Captain  Gladstone,  Seventy-fifth 
Foot;  Captain  Wallace  and  Lieut.  Caryvell,  Ninety-second  Gordon 
Highlanders;  Captain  Skinner,  Military  Train;  Captain  Kingston 
and  Lieutenant  Garnett,  Fifth  Dragoon  Guards;  Captain 
Barthorp,  Tenth  Hussars;  Captain  Telford  and  Lieutenant  Meade, 
Sixtieth  Rifles;  Captain  Taylor,  Eighty-eight  Foot,  Connaught 
Rangers;  Captain  Fox  and  Ensign  Parkinson,  Sixty-first  Foot. 

O'Reilly's  fellow-prisoners  at  that  time  were:  Color-Sergeant 
Charles  McCarthy,  Fifty-third  Foot;  Privates  Patrick  Keating, 
Fifth  Dragoon  Guards;  Michael  Harrington,  Thomas  Darragh, 
Fifty-third  Foot;  and  Captain  James  Murphy,  who  was  charged 
with  having  deserted  from  the  camp  at  Aldershot,  whereas  he 
was  fighting  for  the  Union  in  West  Virginia  as  an  officer  in  the 
Federal  Army,  and  previous  to  the  Civil  War  had  been  a  sergeant 
in  the  American  Regular  Army. 

The  prisoner  (O'Reilly)  pleaded  "not  guilty".  Captain 
Whelan,  the  prosecutor,  opened  the  case  as  follows: 

"The  enormity  of  the  offense  with  which  the  prisoner  is 
charged  is  such  that  it  is  difficult  to  find  language  by  which 
to  describe  it.  It  strikes  at  the  root  of  all  military  discipline, 
and,  if  allowed  to  escape  the  punishment  which  it  entails, 
would  render  her  Majesty's  forces,  who  ought  to  be  the 
guardians  of  our  lives  and  liberty,  and  the  bulwark  and  pro- 
tection of  the  Constitution  under  which  we  live,  a  source  of 
danger  to  the  state  and  all  its  loyal  citizens  and  subjects, 
and  her  Majesty's  faithful  subjects  would  become  the  prey 
and  victims  of  military  despotism,  licentiousness,  and  vio- 
lence. Our  standing  army  would  then  be  a  terror  to  the 
throne,  a  curse,  not  a  blessing,  to  the  community;  but  at  the 
same  time,  as  is  the  gravity  of  the  offense,  so  in  proportion 
should  the  evidence  by  which  such  a  charge  is  to  be  sus- 
tained, be  carefully  and  sedulously  weighed.  It  will  be  for 
you,  gentlemen,  to  say  whether  the  evidence  which  will  be 
adduced  before  you,  leaves  upon  your  mind  any  reasonable 
doubt  of  the  prisoner's  guilt." 

The  prosecutor,  in  continuation,  said  that  evidence  would  be 
laid  before  them  to  show  that  the  prisoner  was  an  active  mem- 
ber of  the  Fenian  conspiracy,  and  that  he  had  endeavored  to 
induce  other  soldiers  to  join  it. 



The  first  witness  called  was  Lance-Corporal  Fitzgerald  of  the 
Tenth  Hussars.  He  said: 

I  know  the  prisoner.  I  know  Hoey's  public  house  in 
Bridgefoot  Street.  I  was  in  it  in  the  month  of  November, 
1865,  with  the  prisoner.  He  brought  me  there.  I  was  intro- 
duced by  the  prisoner  to  a  man  named  Devoy.  There  were 
then  present,  Tierney,  Rorreson,  Bergin,  and  Sinclair  of  the 
Tenth  Hussars. 

Prosecutor:  Was  there  any  conversation  in  presence  of 
the  prisoner?   If  so,  state  what  it  was. 

Prisoner:  I  object,  sir,  to  that  question.  It  relates  to  a 
conversation  previous  to  the  date  of  the  charge,  and  can 
have  no  reference  to  it. 

The  court  ruled  that  the  evidence  was  admissible,  and  the 
question  was  put. 

Witness:  Prisoner  introduced  me  to  Devoy  and  said: 
"This  is  Corporal  Fitzgerald,"  and  I  spoke  to  him.  Devoy 
said  O'Reilly  had  spoken  to  him  several  times  about  me,  and 
said  he  should  like  to  get  me.  We  three  sat  down  together 
and  I  asked  Devoy  who  was  carrying  on  this  affair.  He  said 
Stephens.  I  asked,  were  there  any  arms  or  ammunition.  He 
said  there  was,  and  they  were  getting  lots  every  day  from 
America.  I  asked  who  were  to  be  their  officers.  He  said  there 
would  be  plenty  of  officers.  He  said  it  was  so  carried  on  that 
privates  did  not  know  their  non-commissioned  officers,  nor 
they  their  officers.  Devoy  then  left  the  room  and  the  pris- 
oner went  after  him.  After  a  few  minutes  prisoner  came  and 
told  me  that  Devoy  wanted  to  speak  to  me.  I  went  down  to 
the  yard  and  found  Devoy  there.  He  said,  "I  suppose  O'Reilly 
has  told  you  what  I  want  with  you." 

Prisoner:  I  respectfully  object,  sir.  What  the  witness  now 
states  to  have  taken  place,  was  not  in  my  presence. 

Court  decided  that  the  answer  should  be  given. 

Witness:  I  said  that  I  did  not  know.  He  said  that  it  was 
for  the  purpose  of  joining  them  he  wanted  me,  and  that  there 
was  an  oath  necessary  to  be  taken.  I  said  I  would  not  take 
the  oath,  and  he  then  said  that  he  would  not  trust  any  man 
that  did  not  take  the  oath.  We  then  returned  upstairs.  Noth- 
ing further  took  place. 

President:  What  did  you  mean  by  using  the  words,  "This 

Witness:  I  meant  the  Fenian  conspiracy.  When  I  went 
upstairs  I  saw  the  prisoner,  who  bade  me  good-night.  The 
next  time  I  saw  him  was  one  evening  I  met  him  in  town  com- 
ing from  the  barracks.  Some  arrests  took  place  that  day, 
and  I  said,  "This  business  is  getting  serious."  He  said  it  was, 
and  that  my  name  had  been  mentioned  at  a  meeting  a  few 
nights  before.  I  asked  what  meeting,  and  he  said  a  mili- 
tary meeting.  I  asked  who  mentioned  my  name,  and  he  said 
he  did  not  know  exactly,  but  that  it  was  a  man  of  the  Fifth 
Dragoon  Guards.  He  added,  "If  you  come  home  to-night  I 
will  take  you  to  a  similar  meeting."  I  gave  him  no  decided 
answer.  I  afterwards  met  him  in  the  barracks.  This  all  oc- 
curred before  the  meeting  at  Hoey's,  of  which  I  stated.  When 
I  met  him  in  the  barracks  he  asked  me  was  I  going  out.  I 
replied  that  I  was.   He  said,  "Will  you  meet  me  at  the  sign 



of  the  'Two  Soldiers'?"  I  said  yes,  and  went  there  and 
waited  until  O'Reilly  came  in.  He  called  for  some  drink,  and 
after  we  drank  we  left  the  house,  but  came  back  again  to  get 
my  gloves,  and  he  said,  "I  want  to  introduce  you  to  a  per- 
son." I  said  that  I  had  no  time  and  should  go,  but  he  said, 
"I  shall  not  detain  you  a  minute."  I  then  went  with  him  to 
Hoey's  public  house.  It  was  on  that  occasion  that  I  had 
the  interview  with  Devoy  of  which  I  have  given  evidence. 

Here  the  court  adjourned  for  half  an  hour.  On  its  reas- 
sembling Corporal  Fitzgerald  continued  his  testimony: 

The  conversation  of  which  I  have  last  spoken  took  place 
either  toward  the  end  of  November  or  the  beginning  of  De- 
cember, 1865.  Prisoner  never  told  me  the  object  of  the  mili- 
tary meetings  of  which  he  spoke.  I  know  Pilsworth's  public 
house,  James  Street.  I  met  prisoner  in  that  house  on  the 
13th  of  January,  1866.  There  were  with  him  Denny,  Mul- 
larchy,  Hood,  Loftus,  Crosby,  and  Sinclair,  all  Tenth  Hussars, 
and  two  deserters  from  Fifth  Dragoon  Guards.  They  were 
in  civilian  clothes.  There  was  a  man  named  Williams  pres- 
ent, and  also  Devoy.  On  that  occasion  I  had  no  conversa- 
tion with  O'Reilly,  nor  with  any  other  person  in  his  hearing. 
I  never  had  any  further  conversation  with  the  prisoner  about 

To  the  Court: 

Prisoner  never  asked  me  the  result  of  my  conversation 
with  Devoy. 

On  cross-examination  by  the  prisoner,  witness  said: 
When  I  was  in  Hoey's  public  house  there  were  no  soldiers 
of  any  other  regiment  but  the  Tenth  Hussars  present.  That 
was  the  only  time  I  met  the  prisoner  at  Hoey's.  It  was  a  few 
days  after  the  conversation  which  took  place  when  I  met 
the  prisoner  coming  from  the  barracks,  that  he  introduced 
me  to  Devoy.  I  am  twelve  years  in  the  army.  The  prisoner 
was  in  the  army  only  three  years. 

To  the  Court: 

I  made  no  report  to  my  commanding  officer  of  my  con- 
versation with  Devoy  or  the  meeting  at  Pilsworth's.  I  never 
took  the  Fenian  oath. 

The  next  witness,  Private  McDonald,  Tenth  Hussars,  testified: 

I  know  Pilsworth's  house.  I  was  there  about  Christmas 
last  with  the  prisoner.  I  went  with  him  to  the  house.  There 
were  other  persons  there  but  I  cannot  say  who  they  were. 
There  were  some  civilians,  but  I  did  not  know  their  names. 
Since  then  I  heard  that  Devoy  was  one  of  them.  The  pris- 
oner did  not  introduce  me  to  any  one  on  that  occasion.  Any 
drink  the  soldiers  had  they  paid  for  themselves.  There 
was  no  conversation  relating  to  Fenianism  in  the  presence  of 
the  prisoner. 

Here  the  President  deemed  it  advisable  to  give  the  witness  a 
hint  that  his  evidence  was  not  satisfactory: 

President:    Remember  that  you  are  on  your  oath. 

Witness:  Prisoner  was  sitting  near  me  for  a  quarter  of  an 
hour  or  more;  he  was  not  far  away  from  me.  He  was  sitting 
alongside  me,  close  as  one  person  sits  to  another.   I  knew 



prisoner  before  that  night.  I  had  some  conversation  with 
O'Reilly  while  he  was  sitting  by  me.  I  cannot  now  tell  what 
it  was  about,  but  it  was  not  about  Fenianism. 

Devoy  was  not  sitting  near  me  that  night;  he  was  sitting 
at  the  same  table,  but  I  did  not  speak  to  him,  nor  he  to  me. 
I  know  Fortune's  public  house  in  Golden  Lane.  I  have  been 
once  in  that  house  with  O'Reilly,  but  I  cannot  say  in  what 
month.  It  was  after  Christmas,  I  think.  There  were  some 
civilians  and  soldiers  there;  the  soldiers  were  infantry  men. 
Devoy  was  one  of  the  civilians,  but  I  knew  no  one  else's  name. 

Here  the  President  again  interjected  a  threatening  hint: 

President:  Is  it  impossible  to  know  an  infantry  man's 

Witness:    I  did  not  know  their  names. 

President:    What  regiments  did  they  belong  to? 

Witness:  Some  of  Sixty-first,  some  of  Eighty-seventh; 
there  were  no  other  cavalrymen  but  prisoner  and  myself.  The 
prisoner  did  not  introduce  me  to  any  one  on  that  occasion. 
We  were  in  Fortune's  for  an  hour  and  a  half.  I  had  no  con- 
versation with  the  prisoner  on  that  occasion;  the  people  who 
were  there  were  talking  to  themselves  and  I  did  not  hear  any 
conversation  that  night.  Some  of  the  civilians  treated  me  to 
some  drink.  Devoy  treated  both  me  and  the  prisoner.  I  have 
met  a  man  known  by  the  name  of  Davis.  He  was  not  in 
Fortune's  that  night.  Devoy,  prisoner,  and  myself  all  drank 
together  that  night.  After  leaving  Fortune's  we  went  to 
Doyle's  public  house.  Devoy  came  with  two  other  civilians 
and  some  infantry  soldiers.  I  was  in  Doyle's  from  half-past 
eight  until  after  nine.  In  Doyle's  we  were  again  treated  to 
drink  by  the  civilians  and  by  Devoy;  it  was  he  asked  us  to  go 
there.  O'Reilly  was  in  the  room  when  he  asked  me  to  do 
so,  but  I  could  not  say  how  near  he  was  to  us  when  Devoy 
was  speaking.  I  think  prisoner  might  have  heard  Devoy 
speaking.  When  Devoy  asked  us  to  go  to  Doyle's  he  said  it 
was  quieter  than  Fortune's.  In  Doyle's  we  were  not  exactly 
sitting  together,  there  were  some  civilians  between  me  and 
Devoy.  I  do  not  know  their  names. 

Here  the  Court  adjourned  to  next  morning. 
McDonald's  examination  resumed: 

When  I  was  in  Doyle's,  prisoner  was  not  sitting;  he  was 
standing  between  me  and  Devoy.  He  was  in  front  of  me.  I 
had  no  conversation  with  the  prisoner  or  with  any  person 
in  his  hearing.  I  was  with  the  prisoner  in  Barclay's  public 
house  about  a  fortnight  after  I  was  in  Doyle's  with  him. 
There  were  some  soldiers  and  civilians  there.  Devoy  was 
there.  I  don't  know  any  other  names,  but  I  know  their  faces. 
They  were  the  same  men  who  had  been  at  Doyle's.  We  re- 
mained at  Barclay's  from  seven  till  nine  o'clock.  On  that 
occasion  I  had  no  conversation  with  the  prisoner,  I  had  no 
conversation  in  presence  of  prisoner.  I  went  to  Barclay's 
with  John  O'Reilly.  The  next  public  house  I  was  in  with 
him  was  Hoey's,  in  Bridgefoot  Street,  about  a  week  after.  I 
went  there  with  prisoner.  Same  civilians  were  there  that  I 
met  before,  and  some  infantry  soldiers.  Prisoner  did  not  re- 
main; he  went  away  after  I  went  into  the  house.  I  had  no 
conversation  with  O'Reilly  that  night.  I  afterwards,  in  the 
same  month,  went  with  prisoner  to  Bergin's,  James  Street; 



remained  there  from  half -past  eight  to  quarter-past  nine; 
did  not  know  any  persons  present,  they  were  all  strangers; 
there  were  four  infantry  soldiers,  one  of  them,  I  think,  of 
the  Fifty-third.  Prisoner  was  there  the  whole  time;  there 
was  no  conversation  between  prisoner  and  those  present. 
There  was  singing. 

President:    No  conversation! 

Witness:  None. 

President:  Public  houses  must  be  mortal  slow  places  ac- 
cording to  your  account. 

Witness:  Singing  was  in  presence  and  hearing  of  pris- 
oner. Prisoner  did  not  join  in  the  singing;  he  was  sitting 
down;  we  were  both  drinking  some  beer.  Some  civilians  asked 
us  to  drink,  but  we  treated  ourselves.  Prisoner  told  me  that 
he  belonged  to  the  Fenian  Brotherhood  in  Cahir.  He  told 
me  so  in  conversation  as  we  were  coming  down  from  Island 
Bridge  Barracks,  in  April,  twelve  months  ago. 

Cross-examined  by  Prisoner: 

At  Pilsworth's  there  were  three  or  four  sitting  at  the  same 
table  with  us  and  Devoy.  When  I  said  there  was  no  conver- 
sation between  me  and  the  prisoner  at  Fortune's  I  meant  no 
conversation  about  Fenianism.  When  Devoy  asked  me  to  go 
to  Doyle's,  prisoner  might  not  have  heard  him  do  so.  We 
went  upstairs  at  Barclay's.  When  I  said  I  had  no  conversa- 
tion with  the  prisoner  at  Hoey's,  I  meant  none  about  Fenian- 
ism. I  think  I  saw  Corporal  Fitzgerald  at  Hoey's  one  night, 
but  I  can't  tell  the  date.  I  never  was  in  company  with  Fitz- 
gerald at  Hoey's  public  house;  it  is  over  twelve  months  and 
more  since  the  Tenth  Hussars  were  quartered  in  Cahir;  I  had 
no  conversation  with  prisoner  in  Pilsworth's  about  Fenianism. 
Strange  civilians  often  asked  me  to  take  a  drink  in  public 
houses.  I  never  was  a  Fenian.  The  Tenth  Hussars  were 
quartered  in  Cahir  for  nine  months. 

To  the  Court: 

The  prisoner  told  me  who  Devoy  was  in  Pilsworth's.  I 
have  known  the  prisoner  since  he  enlisted,  three  years  ago. 
It  was  in  Pilsworth's  I  met  the  man  called  Davis,  that  was  in 
January;  I  never  saw  him  before  or  since.  I  cannot  recollect 
the  subjects  of  which  we  talked  in  the  various  public  houses. 

To  the  Prisoner: 

Was  not  in  Hoey's  when  Fitzgerald  was  there.  I  cannot 
tell  prisoner's  motive  in  asking  me  to  go  to  the  various  pub- 
lic houses  with  him.  In  Fortune's  there  were  civilians  pres- 
ent. We  left  it  to  go  to  Doyle's,  as  we  did  not  like  to  talk  be- 
fore them.  There  was  nobody  in  the  room  at  Doyle's  when 
we  went  in.  There  were  seven  or  eight  of  us  came  from  For- 
tune's to  Doyle's.  I  do  not  know  who  the  civilians  were  that 
were  left  behind. 

President:  Why  were  you  so  confidential  with  some  of 
the  civilians  you  met  at  Fortune's  for  the  first  time,  and  not 
with  all?  And  what  was  the  mysterious  conversation  about? 

Witness:  It  was  the  civilians  proposed  to  go  to  Doyle's 
and  it  was  they  who  held  the  conversation.  I  do  not  re- 
member any  of  the  songs  that  were  sung  at  Bergin's.  Davis 
was  a  low-sized  man  whose  hair  was  cut  like  a  soldier's. 
When  the  prisoner  told  me  to  go  to  the  public  houses  at 
night,  he  used  to  say,  "Go  to  such  a  house  and  you  will  meet 
John  there,  and  tell  him  I  am  on  duty." 



President:    Who  was  John? 
Witness:  Devoy. 

President:  Then  Devoy  was  a  great  friend  of  the  pris- 

Witness:    He  appeared  to  be. 

President:  Now  answer  a  direct  question:  Were  the 
songs  sung  Fenian  songs? 

Witness:    No,  sir;  they  were  not. 

Prisoner:    Were  the  songs  chiefly  love  songs? 

Witness:    I  don't  know. 

Prisoner:  Did  I  ever  tell  you  Devoy  was  an  old  friend 
of  my  family? 

Witness:  No,  he  did  not.  John  O'Reilly  never  spoke  to 
me  about  Fenianism,  and  I  never  heard  Fenian  songs  in  his 

President:  Recollect  what  you  say:  Did  you  not  swear 
that  prisoner  told  you  he  was  a  Fenian? 

Witness:    He  said  he  was  one  at  Cahir. 

President:    How  do  you  know  what  a  Fenian  song  is? 

Witness:  I  don't  know.  I  suppose  they  are  Irish  songs. 

Prisoner:  Did  you  not  state  to  the  President  that  I  told 
you  I  had  been  a  member  of  the  Fenian  Brotherhood  while  I 
was  at  Cahir? 

Witness:    Yes,  that  you  had  been  a  Fenian  at  Cahir. 

The  unprejudiced  reader,  accustomed  to  the  rigid  impartiality 
of  an  American  court,  will  be  surprised  at  the  hardly  concealed 
hostility  of  this  courtmartial  President  toward  his  prisoner. 
Private  MacDonald's  testimony  is  so  favorable  to  the  accused 
that  it  does  not  please  the  Court  at  all.  The  President  accord- 
ingly reminds  him  that  he  is  "under  oath",  sneers  at  his  refusal 
to  "identify"  men  whom  he  does  not  know,  and  makes  it  gener- 
ally clear  to  succeeding  witnesses  that  evidence  tending  to  prove 
the  prisoner's  innocence  is  not  of  the  kind  wanted  in  that  court. 

The  next  witness  was  Private  Denis  Denny,  Tenth  Hussars: 

I  remember  the  evening  of  the  1st  January,  last.  I  was 
in  the  "Two  Soldiers"  public  house  with  the  prisoner.  He 
told  me  that  if  I  went  to  Hoey's  with  him  he  would  show  me 
the  finest  set  of  Irishmen  I  ever  saw  in  my  life.  We  went 
there  and  found  a  number  of  civilians  assembled.  The  pris- 
oner, after  some  time,  took  me  out  of  the  room  and  told  me 
that  the  Fenians  were  going  to  beat  the  English  army  and 
make  this  country  their  own.  He  asked  me  to  take  an  oath 
to  join  the  Fenians.  I  answered  that  I  had  already  taken 
an  oath  to  serve  my  queen  and  country  and  that  was  enough 
for  me.  I  then  came  down  and  went  into  the  yard  and  he 
asked  me  to  be  a  Fenian.  I  told  him  no.  He  then  went  away 
and  a  civilian  came  and  said — 

Prisoner:  I  object  to  anything  being  put  in  evidence  rela- 
tive to  a  conversation  at  which  I  was  not  present. 

Court  adjourned  for  half  an  hour  to  consider  the  objection. 



On  its  reassembling,  Private  Denny  continued: 

After  returning  upstairs  prisoner  was  there  and  I  saw  him. 
I  had  no  conversation  with  him.  I  met  O'Reilly  in  Island 
Bridge  Barracks  about  a  week  before  I  was  in  Hoey's  with 
him.  I  had  then  no  conversation  with  him. 

Cross-examined  by  Prisoner: 

I  am  eight  years  in  the  Tenth  Hussars.  I  had  spoken  be- 
fore that  evening  with  the  prisoner,  but  nothing  about 
Fenianism.  I  cannot  say  at  what  period  of  the  day  on  the 
first  of  January  this  took  place,  but  it  was  in  the  evening, 
about  seven  or  eight,  I  think.  There  was  nobody  but  the 
prisoner  with  me  when  I  went  to  Hoey's.  Lance-Corporal 
Fitzgerald  was  not  in  our  company.  I  never,  so  far  as  I 
know,  was  in  Fitzgerald's  company  at  Hoey's.  We  went  back 
to  the  "Two  Soldiers"  that  evening  by  ourselves.  We  went 
back  to  have  a  glass  of  beer.  I  had  been  drinking  before 
that  evening.  I  was  arrested  at  Island  Bridge  Barracks  and 
confined  in  the  regiment  cells  at  Richmond  Barracks.  I  was 
taken  on  duty  to  Dublin  Castle  in  aid  of  the  civil  power. 

Prisoner  withdrew  this  last  question. 

Witness:  I  made  no  report  to  my  superior  officers  of 
v/hat  took  place  at  Hoey's  before  my  arrest.  I  was  arrested 
on  the  5th  of  March.  I  made  a  statement  of  what  took  place 
before  I  was  transferred  to  Richmond  barracks.  I  was  ar- 
rested on  a  charge  of  Fenianism  and  was  for  two  days  in  the 
cells  at  Island  Bridge,  during  which  time  I  was  visited  by 
Provost-Sergeant  Delworth.  He  did  not  tell  me  what  I  was 
charged  with.  It  was  told  to  me  by  my  commanding  officer 
on  5th  of  March,  when  I  was  arrested.  I  did  not  know 
O'Reilly  was  arrested  until  he  spoke  to  me  through  the  wall 
of  the  cells;  that  was  the  first  time  I  knew  he  was  arrested. 
Sergeant  Delworth  came  to  visit  me,  but  I  cannot  say  if  it 
was  before  then  that  prisoner  spoke  through  the  wall  to 
me.  I  was  only  once  at  Hoey's  public  house  that  I  am  aware 
of — that  was  on  1st  of  January,  1866.  I  made  no  statement 
to  the  provost-sergeant  at  all.  I  made  none  while  in  the 
cells.  I  swear  that  the  conversation  at  Hoey's  took  place  on 
1st  January,  1866. 

By  the  Court: 

Before  prisoner  told  you  that  the  Fenians  were  going  to 
beat  the  English  army  out  of  the  country  and  make  it  free, 
had  there  been  no  conversation  about  Fenianism  in  presence 
of  the  prisoner? 

Witness:  No. 

President:  What  reason  had  you  for  not  reporting  this 

Witness:  I  did  not  wish  to  get  myself  or  anyone  else 
into  trouble  by  doing  so. 

The  next  witness  was  Private  John  Smith,  Tenth  Hussars: 

I  was  in  Hoey's  with  prisoner  some  time  after  Christmas, 
about  1st  January,  1866.  I  went  there  by  myself;  no  one  took 
me.  When  I  went  there  I  was  directed  into  a  room  where 
I  saw  the  prisoner.  Room  was  full  of  soldiers  playing  cards. 
There  were  some  civilians  there,  but  I  knew  none  of  them  but 
O'Reilly.  I  since  learnt  that  a  man  named  Doyle,  of  the 
Sixty-first,  was  there.  I  saw  him  just  now  outside  this  room 
Prisoner  introduced  me  as  a  friend  to  a  civilian. 



Here  Court  adjourned  to  reassemble  next  morning,  when 
Private  Smith  continued  his  evidence: 

I  left  the  room  with  the  civilian  and  he  spoke  to  me. 

The  prisoner  objected  to  the  question  and  the  objection  was 

Witness:  I  had  some  conversation  with  the  civilian,  but 
I  do  not  know  if  the  prisoner  was  near  enough  to  hear  it. 
After  I  left  the  room  with  the  prisoner  he  said  the  move- 
ment had  been  going  on  some  time,  but  he  did  not  say  what 
movement.  After  that  he  returned  into  the  room,  and  when 
I  went  back  I  found  him  there.  There  was  no  conversation 
louder  than  your  breath  among  those  who  were  in  the 
room.  When  I  left  the  room  with  the  civilian  he  asked  me 
to  do  so.  When  I  left  the  room  I  went  to  the  back  of  the 
house  with  him,  but  the  prisoner  did  not  come  out  at  all 
while  we  were  there.  It  was  on  the  lobby  that  the  prisoner 
told  me  that  he  had  known  of  the  movement  for  some  time. 
That  was  said  before  I  went  into  the  yard  with  the  civilian. 
There  was  no  one  else  but  the  civilian  present  at  the  time 
with  us.  The  observation  was  made  in  the  course  of  conver- 
sation between  me  and  the  civilian.  We  were  all  standing 
on  the  lobby  at  the  time. 

President:  What  was  the  conversation  about,  at  the  time 
the  observation  was  made? 

Prisoner:  I  beg  to  object  to  that  question,  sir.  The  wit- 
ness has  already  said  that  he  cannot  say  whether  I  heard  the 
conversation  or  not. 

The  Judge-Advocate  said  that  the  question  was  a  legal  one. 
The  prisoner  had  introduced  the  civilian  to  the  witness  and  the 
conversation  took  place  when  the  three  were  standing  within  a 
yard  of  one  another.  The  observation  was  part  of  the  conver- 

Witness:  I  cannot  say  what  the  conversation  was  about. 
It  was  the  civilian  that  asked  me  to  go  down  to  the  yard.  I 
don't  know  whether  prisoner  left  before  he  asked  me  to  go. 
About  three  days  after,  I  met  the  prisoner  at  Walshe's  pub- 
lic house.  No  one  took  me  there.  The  house  was  full  of  sol- 
diers. I  did  not  know  any  of  the  civilians,  but  there  were 
some  men  of  my  regiment  there. 

President:  Do  you  know  the  names  of  any  of  the 

Witness:  I  did,  but  I  cannot  now  recollect  what  their 
names  were. 

Prisoner:  I  think  that  the  witness  said,  sir,  that  Walshe's 
is  a  singing  saloon. 

President:  Is  it  a  public  house  or  a  music  hall  exclu- 

Witness:  It  is  both;  none  of  the  civilians  present  had 
been  in  Hoey's  when  I  was  there;  the  prisoner  told  me  that 
he  wanted  to  see  me  the  next  night  at  Pilsworth's  public 
house;  he  said  that  he  wanted  to  see  some  friends  and  to 
bring  me  to  them;  I  met  him  as  he  appointed;  there  were 
two  of  the  Sixty-first  there  when  we  got  to  Pilsworth's, 
neither  of  whose  names  I  know;  there  was  nobody  else  there 



during  the  time  we  stopped;  the  prisoner  and  I  had  some 
conversation,  but  I  forget  what  it  was;  we  left  the  room 
shortly  after;  the  only  conversation  that  took  place  was  that 
we  asked  each  other  to  drink;  O'Reilly  came  away  with  me, 
and  we  went  to  Hoey's;  it  was  the  prisoner  who  asked  me  to 
go  there;  he  said,  "Perhaps  we  will  meet  the  friends  who 
promised  to  meet  us  at  Pilsworth's";  he  told  me  that  some 
of  them  were  the  same  that  we  had  to  meet  at  Hoey's  before; 
on  our  way  he  spoke  about  different  men  who  used  to  meet 
him  at  Hoey's;  he  told  me  that  those  he  was  in  the  habit 
of  meeting  there  were  Fenian  agents,  and  men  from  America, 
who  had  been  sent  here  to  carry  on  business;  that  is  the  pur- 
port of  what  the  prisoner  said;  nothing  else  that  I  can  recol- 
lect passed  between  us;  the  prisoner  told  me  the  business 
the  American  agents  came  to  carry  on;  Fenian  business,  he 
said,  of  course. 

President:  Why,  "of  course"?  You  give  us  credit  for  know- 
ing more  than  we  do. 

Witness :  When  we  got  to  Hoey's  we  met  the  same  civilian 
that  we  had  met  there  before,  and  some  more  strangers;  we 
stayed  in  Hoey's  about  three-quarters  of  an  hour;  I  had  no 
conversation  there  with  the  prisoner;  we  separated,  I  to  play 
cards,  and  he  to  talk  with  some  civilians;  there  was  none  but 
ordinary  conversation  going  on;  when  we  left  Hoey's  we  went 
back  to  Pilsworth's;  a  civilian  asked  us  both  to  go  to  Pils- 
worth's along  with  some  other  soldiers;  some  civilians  were 
there,  Americans,  I  think;  I  cannot  remember  what  the  con- 
versation was  about;  it  was  no  louder  than  a  whisper;  when 
we  left  we  called  into  a  public  house  near  the  barracks;  we 
had  some  talk  about  the  civilians  we  had  left. 

President:  It  is  not  about  the  civilians  you  are  asked, 
but  about  the  conversation. 

Witness:  I  met  prisoner  without  any  appointment  in  Bar- 
clay's public  house  in  James's  Street  in  about  a  week;  there 
were  some  soldiers  and  civilians  there.  Among  the  soldiers 
was  Private  Foley,  of  the  Fifth  Dragoon  Guards.  The  civilians 
were  those  I  had  met  at  Hoey's.  I  had  no  conversation  with 
the  prisoner.  I  left  Barclay's  first  that  night.  At  Barclay's 
the  prisoner  was  sitting  at  a  table  with  some  soldiers  and 
civilians.  I  had  seen  some  of  the  civilians  before  at  Hoey's, 
I  do  not  know  the  names  of  the  civilians  I  met  at  Hoey's. 
The  prisoner  never  told  me  the  object  of  "the  movement". 
O'Reilly  never  spoke  to  me  about  "the  movement",  except 
what  he  said  at  Pilsworth's  and  at  Hoey's. 

Cross-examined  by  the  Prisoner: 

The  night  I  went  to  Hoey's  and  Pilsworth's  was,  I  think, 
in  January.  I  cannot  say  what  time  in  January.  It  might 
have  been  in  February.  I  cannot  say.  I  know  Lance-Cor- 
poral Fitzgerald;  he  is  in  my  troop.  I  know  Private  Denny, 
Tenth  Hussars;  he  is  in  my  troop.  I  cannot  say  if  I  was  in 
his  company  on  New  Year's  night;  I  spent  that  night  partly 
in  Mount  Pleasant  Square  and  partly  at  the  "Bleeding 
Horse"  in  Camden  Lane.  I  am  not  able  to  say  whether  I 
ever  saw  Denny  at  Hoey's.  I  was  speaking  to  him  fifteen 
minutes  ago;  I  am  not  able  to  say  if  I  spoke  to  him  to-day  or 
yesterday,  about  the  trial;  I  did  speak  to  him  about  it;  I  have 
spoken  to  him  about  his  evidence  or  he  to  me.  I  don't  know 
which.  It  was  after  I  read  the  paper  and  I  don't  think  any- 
one heard  us. 



Prisoner:  Were  you  by  yourself?  ...  If  the  Deputy 
Judge  Advocate  would  be  kind  enough  to  read  the  last  two 
questions  and  replies. 

The  questions  and  replies  were  read  over. 

Prisoner:  Do  you  not  know  whether  you  and  Denny  were 
by  yourselves? 

President:  You  must  know,  in  a  matter  that  only  oc- 
curred fifteen  minutes  ago. 

Witness:  I  only  spoke  to  him  as  we  were  coming  across 
here  at  two  o'clock.  When  I  was  speaking  to  Denny,  there 
were  some  other  men  in  the  room,  but  I  cannot  say  if  we  were 
by  ourselves. 

President:  That  makes  the  thing  worse.  When  did  you 
read  the  newspaper — this  morning?  Did  you  talk  to  Denny 
then  about  the  evidence? 

Witness:  About  nine  o'clock,  when  I  was  preparing  to 
come  here,  I  might  have  spoken  to  him.  The  paper  was  read. 
I  spoke  to  him  at  the  bottom  of  the  stairs.  There  were  other 
men  in  the  room  at  the  time.  I  again  spoke  to  him  when 
coming  here  at  two  o'clock.  I  can  read  "some"  print,  but  not 
writing.  I  have  never  tried  to  read  a  paper.  It  was  Denny 
who  read  the  paper  this  morning;  he  read  it  out  for  me. 

President:    What  paper  was  it? 

Witness:    The  paper  in  Sackville  Street. 

President:    That  is  the  Irish  Times. 

Capt.  Whelan:    Oh  no,  it  is  the  Freeman's  Journal! 

Witness:  When  Denny  read  the  paper,  there  were  two 
men  present;  it  was  after  this  we  had  the  conversation  about 
the  evidence. 

Here  the  court  adjourned,  and  having  reconvened  on  the  fol- 
lowing day,  Private  Denis  Denny  was  recalled  and  examined  rela- 
tive to  a  statement  made  by  Private  Smith,  the  previous  wit- 
ness, that  they  had  a  conversation  the  previous  day  concerning 
the  evidence  he  had  given. 

Witness:  I  had  no  conversation  yesterday  about  the  evi- 
dence with  Private  Smith. 

To  the  Prosecutor: 

I  was  not  aware  that  I  read  the  paper  yesterday  in  pres- 
ence of  Smith.  He  may  have  been  there  when  I  was  reading 
it.  I  have  no  knowledge  of  having  had  any  conversation  with 
anybody  about  the  evidence  of  Smith.  Before  I  was  recalled 
into  court  I  had  no  conversation  with  anyone  relative  to  the 
evidence  I  had  given  previously.  I  am  not  aware  that  I  had 
any  conversation  with  Private  Smith  with  reference  to  my 
evidence.  I  read  a  paper  yesterday  morning.  I  would  not 
swear  what  men  were  present.  I  cannot  say  if  Smith  was  in 
the  room  when  I  read  it. 

To  the  President: 

I  do  not  recollect  a  man  who  was  in  the  room. 

Prisoner:    With  your  leave,  sir,  I  would  wish  to  ask  Private 
Denny  a  few  questions  in  the  absence  of  Private  Smith. 
President:    Leave  the  room,  Smith. 

t  rFaHVatTetDe,n^  to. Prlsoner:  I  did  not  buy  the  paper  that 
I  read.   I  took  it  out  of  Private  Robert  Good's  bed. 



President:    We  have  decided,  prisoner,  not  to  put  these 
questions  yet.   You  will  reserve  them. 
Prisoner:    Very  well,  sir. 

President  (to  witness) :  Were  there  any  persons  in  the 

Witness:    Four  or  five. 

President:    Were  you  reading  aloud? 

Witness:  No,  sir;  I  cannot  read  aloud,  because  I  have  to 
spell  the  words. 

President:  Have  you  had  no  conversation  with  anyone 
about  Smith  since  you  read  the  paper? 

Witness:  I  spoke  to  Lance-Corporal  Fitzgerald,  I  now 
recollect,  about  Smith. 

President:    What  did  you  say  about  him? 

Witness:  I  was  talking  to  him  about  the  time  Smith  and 
I  were  arrested.  He  might  have  been  in  the  room  when  the 
paper  was  reading,  but  no  one  read  aloud  when  I  was  in  the 

President:  What  did  you  and  Smith  talk  about  yester- 

Witness:  I  did  not  talk  to  him  yesterday,  unless  I  might 
have  spoken  to  him  outside  the  door,  while  we  were  waiting. 

President:  If  Private  Smith  swore  yesterday  that  you  had 
told  him  your  previous  evidence,  would  it  be  true? 

Witness:    No,  sir. 

Private  Smith  (recalled) .  The  two  Sixty-first  men  we  met 
at  Pilsworth's  did  not  come  to  Hoey's.  Private  Denny  never 
spoke  to  me  about  Fenianism.  I  have  often  played  cards  for 
drink  in  public  houses.  When  the  prisoner  introduced  me 
to  the  civilian  at  Hoey's  it  was  as  a  friend  of  his  in  the  regi- 
ment. My  regiment  turned  out  for  the  field  yesterday  at 
half -past-seven.  It  was  about  nine  o'clock  when  Denny  made 
out  the  paper  for  me. 

Court:  If  Denny  swore  that  he  did  not  read  the  paper 
aloud,  would  he  be  swearing  what  was  true? 

Witness:  I  say  again  that  Denny  read  the  paper  aloud;  if 
he  did  not  I  could  not  hear  him. 

President:    You  must  answer  "Yes"  or  "no". 

Witness:    It  would  not  be  true,  sir. 

To  the  Court: 

I  have  heard  Denny  reading  the  newspaper  aloud  on  other 
occasions;  I  do  not  know  what  part  of  the  paper  Denny 
read,  but  it  was  about  this  trial;  when  speaking  to  Denny 
yesterday  it  was  about  the  trial;  about  his  evidence  and  mine; 
when  the  prisoner  introduced  me  to  the  civilian  at  Hoey's, 
he  merely  said  that  I  was  a  friend  of  his;  I  cannot  repeat  the 
precise  words  used  in  introducing  me;  Denny  and  I  had 
only  a  few  words  about  this  trial  when  we  spoke  together 

President:  The  civilians  to  whom  you  were  introduced 
you  said  yesterday  were  Fenian  agents;  did  they  ever  ask 
you  to  become  a  Fenian? 

Witness:    They  did. 

President:  As  a  rule  did  you  always  pay  for  your  drink 
or  were  you  treated? 

Witness:    As  a  rule  I  was  treated. 


President:  Were  those  civilians  that  you  met  Americans 
and  Fenians? 

Witness:    I  was  told  so. 

President:    What  were  they  talking  about  when  the  pris- 
oner spoke  of  the  movement? 
Witness:    About  the  Fenians. 

President:  You  said  that  a  civilian  asked  you  to  go  down 
to  the  yard  at  Hoey's  house;  did  he  assign  any  reason? 

Witness:  He  asked  me  to  go  with  him;  and  said  that  he 
belonged  to  the  Fenians,  and  wished  me  to  join  them. 

President:  Did  you  notice  at  any  time  that  the  prisoner 
had  more  money  than  you  would  expect  a  soldier  to  have? 

Witness:  No. 

President:    Did  you  take  the  Fenian  oath? 

Witness:  I  did  not;  I  never  was  asked  to  take  an  oath  or 
join  the  Fenians  in  the  prisoner's  hearing. 

Prosecutor:  Was  it  after  your  interview  with  the  pris- 
oner on  the  lobby  at  Hoey's  that  you  were  asked  to  take  the 

Witness:    It  was. 

Colonel  Baker,  Tenth  Hussars,  being  sworn,  testified:  I 
know  the  prisoner.  He  never  gave  me  any  information  of  an 
intended  mutiny  in  her  Majesty's  forces  in  Ireland. 

Prisoner:  Did  any  private  of  the  Tenth  communicate 
with  you  in  reference  to  an  intended  mutiny,  before  the  first 
of  March? 

Colonel  Baker:  No. 

Prisoner:    What  character  do  I  bear  in  the  regiment? 
Witness:    A  good  character. 

Colonel  Cass,  sworn  and  examined.  I  never  received  in- 
formation from  the  prisoner  with  reference  to  an  intended 
mutiny.   I  believe  his  character  is  good. 

Head  Constable  Talbot,  the  notorious  informer,  was  the  next 
witness.  He  was  not  called  upon  to  furnish  evidence  of  the 
prisoner's  direct  complicity  in  the  conspiracy,  but  only  of  the 
fact  that  a  conspiracy  existed.  He  had  testified  on  the  trial 
of  Color-Sergeant  McCarthy,  that  the  latter  had  agreed  to  fur- 
nish the  Fenians  with  countersigns,  barrack  and  magazine  keys, 
maps  and  plans  of  the  Clonmel  Barracks,  and  other  aid  neces- 
sary for  the  surprise  of  the  garrison. 

He  also  testified  that  not  a  single  regiment  in  the  service  was 
free  from  the  same  taint  of  rebellion,  and  that  part  of  the  con- 
spirators' scheme  was  the  enlistment  of  revolutionary  agents  in 
the  various  branches  of  the  British  service.  O'Reilly  was  such 
an  agent. 

His  testimony  was  brief.   In  reply  to  a  question  by  the 

prisoner,  he  said: 

My  real  name  is  Talbot,  and  I  joined  the  constabulary  in 



The  arch-informer  was  succeeded  by  Private  Mullarchy  of  the 
Tenth  Hussars. 

In  January  last  I  was  in  a  public  house,  in  James's  Street, 
with  the  prisoner.  He  took  me  there  to  see  a  friend  of  mine, 
as  he  said  that  about  a  fortnight  or  three  weeks  previously  a 
young  man  was  inquiring  after  me.  There  were  present 
there  two  civilians  to  whom  he  introduced  me  as  two  of  his 
friends,  but  whose  names  I  don't  know.  From  the  room  we 
first  entered  we  went  into  a  larger  one,  where  there  were 
three  or  four  soldiers  belonging  to  the  Sixty-first  Regiment 
and  Tenth  Hussars,  another  civilian,  and  a  young  woman. 

Prosecutor:  Did  you  see  the  prisoner  stand  up  and  whis- 
per to  one  of  the  civilians? 

Witness:  Yes,  to  the  civilian  sitting  opposite  to  him.  Very 
shortly  afterwards  the  prisoner  left  the  room  and  did  not 
return.  I  then  had  a  few  words  with  the  civilian  to  whom  the 
prisoner  had  whispered. 

Prosecutor:    Did  you  see  a  book  on  that  occasion? 

Witness:  Nothing  more  than  the  book  the  civilian  to 
whom  the  prisoner  introduced  me  had  taken  out  of  his 
pocket;  the  prisoner  was  not  then  present.  I  had  no  conver- 
sation afterwards  with  the  prisoner  as  to  what  occurred  in 
the  public  house,  or  about  the  friend  of  mine  of  whom  he 
spoke.   I  never  ascertained  who  that  friend  was. 

Cross-examined  by  the  Prisoner: 

Witness:  I  did  ask  you  to  go  to  the  theater  on  the  night 
in  question.  I  told  you  I  had  got  paid  my  wages,  that  I  was 
going  to  the  theater,  and  that  I  should  like  to  go  and  see  the 
friend  of  whom  you  had  spoken. 

Prisoner:  Is  that  what  you  call  my  taking  you  to  Pils- 

President:  We  have  not  got  as  far  as  Pilsworth's  yet,  as 
far  as  I  can  see. 

Prisoner:  Is  that  what  you  call  my  taking  you  to  the 
public  house  in  James's  Street? 

Witness:    It  is;  I  asked  you  to  show  me  where  this  friend 
was,  and  you  said  you  would  take  me  to  the  public  house, 
which  was  the  last  place  where  you  had  seen  him. 
To  the  Court: 

I  returned  to  the  barracks  at  twelve  o'clock  that  night. 
The  friend  of  whom  the  prisoner  spoke  was  a  civilian,  so  he 
told  me.  The  civilian  who  spoke  to  me  in  the  public  house 
asked  me  if  I  was  an  Irishman  and  I  said  I  was.  He  asked 
me  if  I  was  going  to  join  this  society.  I  asked  what  society. 
He  said,  the  Fenian  society.  I  did  not  know  what  that  was. 
Since  I  was  in  the  public  house  with  the  prisoner  no  one 
spoke  to  me  of  the  evidence  I  was  to  give  here  or  at  this 

Private  Rorreson,  Tenth  Hussars:  I  was  in  Private  Ber- 
gin's  company  at  Hoey's  public  house  in  January  last.  On 
that  occasion  there  were  present  besides  Private  Bergin  and 
myself  a  number  of  foot  soldiers  and  two  civilians,  none  of 
whose  names  I  know.  The  prisoner  was  also  present,  but  I 
cannot  say  if  he  was  in  the  room  when  I  entered  or  whether 
he  came  in  afterwards.  I  saw  Lance-Corporal  Fitzgerald,  of 
the  Tenth  Hussars,  there  too.  He  was  in  the  prisoner's  com- 



Prosecutor:  Did  you  see  anything  occur  on  that  occasion 
between  prisoner  and  the  civilians? 

Witness:  I  saw  prisoner  go  up  to  Fitzgerald,  and  imme- 
diately the  latter  and  the  civilians  went  out.  Previous  to 
this  I  also  saw  him  whispering  to  the  civilians.  Any  time  he 
did  speak  it  was  in  a  whisper. 

Prosecutor:  Did  you  see  the  prisoner  go  out  of  the  room 
on  that  occasion? 

Witness:  Yes;  the  three  of  them  left  at  the  same  time.  I 
did  not  see  the  prisoner  go  out  of  the  room  more  than  once. 
When  the  three  left  they  were  absent  for  about  ten  or  fif- 
teen minutes,  and  they  returned  one  after  the  other.  When 
they  returned,  one  of  them  spoke  to  a  foot  soldier,  said  good- 
bye to  his  comrade,  and  then  left  the  room.  There  was  sing- 
ing in  the  room  that  evening.  A  foot  soldier  sang  one  of 
Moore's  melodies.  I  particularly  remember  the  words  of  one 
of  the  songs — 

"We'll  drive  the  Sassenach  from  our  soil." 

Cross-examined  by  the  Prisoner: 

I  have  been  at  Hoey's  since  the  occasion  in  question,  but 
I  cannot  say  how  often.  I  never  saw  Private  Denny  there. 

Question:  If  Lance-Corporal  Fitzgerald  swore  that  on  the 
occasion  in  question  there  were  no  soldiers  at  Hoey's  but  those 
belonging  to  the  Tenth  Hussars,  would  he  be  swearing  what 
was  true? 

Witness:  No,  there  were  infantry  there.  I  can't  say  that 
I  was  at  Hoey's  with  Lance-Corporal  Fitzgerald  in  Novem- 
ber last. 

Here  the  court  adjourned,  and  the  examination  of  Private 
Rorreson  was  resumed  on  the  following  day. 

In  reply  to  the  Court: 

The  infantry  soldiers  were  sitting  alongside  of  me  in  Hoey's. 
There  were  not  thirty  of  the  Sixty-first  Regiment  there.  The 
civilians  were  sitting  at  my  right.  I  cannot  say  whether  the 
soldiers  came  in  first,  or  whether  they  were  in  the  room  when 
I  went  in.  I  will  not  swear  what  time  the  meeting  took 
place;  it  was  in  January.  No  one  spoke  to  me  about  my  evi- 
dence. I  was  not  asked  to  become  a  Fenian  at  Hoey's.  Bergin 
spoke  to  me  elsewhere  of  it,  but  never  in  the  prisoner's  pres- 
ence. Any  time  I  ever  went  to  Hoey's  it  v/as  with  Bergin, 
and  the  civilians  always  paid  for  the  drink.  I  never  heard 
the  names  of  the  civilians,  but  afterwards  I  heard  one  was 
named  Devoy.  I  never  heard  the  names  of  the  others.  Devoy 
appeared  to  be  a  born  Irishman.  I  never  heard  any  sing- 
ing but  on  that  occasion,  and  the  prisoner  took  no  part  in 
it.  I  think  it  was  before  the  night  in  January  that  Bergin 
spoke  to  me  of  being  a  Fenian,  on  the  way  to  the  barracks 
going  home.  We  had  been  in  Hoey's;  the  prisoner  was  there. 
Bergin  had  been  speaking  of  Fenianism  on  the  way  to  the 
barracks.  He  said  there  was  such  a  thing  "coming  off". 
^President:    What  do  you  mean  by  "such  a  thing  coming 

Witness:    Like  a  rebellion  breaking  out. 

Prisoner:  When  you  say  you  since  heard  one  of  the  civil- 
ians was  called  Devoy,  when  did  you  hear  it,  and  who  told 



Witness:  I  cannot  tell  who  told  me;  Bergin  told  me  he 
was  employed  at  Guinness's,  but  I  cannot  say  who  told  me  his 

Prisoner:  I  respectfully  submit  that  all  evidence  given  by 
the  last  witness  relative  to  Bergin  should  be  expunged.  I  did 
not  object  during  his  examination,  as  the  questions  were  put 
by  the  Court,  but  I  do  now. 

The  court  did  not  accept  this  view  of  the  case.  In  admitting 
the  hearsay  evidence  it  endorsed  the  following  astounding  prop- 
ositions made  by  the  Deputy  Judge  Advocate: 

Deputy  Judge  Advocate: 

It  is  too  late  to  object.  The  prisoner  should  not  have 
allowed  the  examination  to  go  on  and  taken  his  chance  of 
something  favorable  to  him  being  elicited  by  it.  For  the  rest, 
I  submit  that  the  acts  or  conversations  of  co-conspirators  are 
admissible  as  evidence  against  each  other,  even  though  one 
of  them  on  his  trial  was  not  present  at  those  acts  or  con- 
versations. All  the  matters  of  fact  sworn  to,  show  that  the 
prisoner  and  Bergin  were  participators  in  the  Fenian  plot. 
Therefore  the  prisoner's  objection  is  unsustainable,  particu- 
larly after  the  examination  of  the  witness. 

Having  thus  summarily  disposed  of  the  prisoner's  few  nominal 
rights,  the  prosecution  took  hold  of  the  case  in  the  good  old- 
fashioned  way,  by  putting  on  the  stand  an  informer  of  the  regu- 
lation Irish  character — one  who  had  taken  the  Fenian  oath  in 
order  to  betray  his  comrades,  and  excused  himself  for  the  per- 
jury by  saying,  that,  although  he  had  a  Testament  in  his  hand 
and  went  through  the  motion  of  kissing  it,  he  had  not  really 
done  so.  The  testimony  of  this  peculiarly  conscientious  witness 
is  interesting,  because  it  is  typical.  He  can  juggle  with  the  Testa- 
ment, in  the  hope  of  cheating  the  Devil;  but  when  pressed  he 
owns  up:  "Most  decidedly  I  took  the  oath  with  the  intention 
of  breaking  it.  I  cannot  see  how  that  was  perjury."  And  again, 
"I  told  the  truth  on  both  trials,  as  far  as  I  can  remember."  With- 
out further  preface  the  reader  is  introduced  to  the  delectable 
company  of  Private  Patrick  Foley,  Fifth  Dragoon  Guards,  who 

I  know  the  prisoner.  I  saw  him  in  Hoey's  public  house 
about  the  14th  of  January.  He  was  confined,  and  they  were 
asking  about  him  at  Hoey's.   The  waiter  asked — 

Prisoner:  I  object  to  this  evidence.  I  was  not  in  the 
house  when  the  questions  were  asked. 

The  objection  was  admitted. 

Witness:  At  the  time  I  saw  the  prisoner  at  Hoey's,  there 
were  a  number  of  people  there,  principally  civilians.  Devoy 
was  one,  Williams  was  another,  and  Corporal  Chambers,  who 
used  at  that  time  to  appear  in  civilian's  clothes.  Hogan  and 
Wilson,  both  deserters  from  Fifth  Dragoon  Guards,  were 
also  there  in  colored  clothes.  There  were  many  others  whose 
names  I  do  not  know.  I  took  part  in  a  conversation  that 
night,  but  I  cannot  say  whether  prisoner  was  present. 



To  the  Court: 

The  prisoner  spoke  twice  to  me  during  January  and  Feb- 

President:    The  question  refers  only  to  one  occasion. 

Witness:  I  spoke  to  the  prisoner  in  February  at  Barclay's 
public  house.  I  do  not  know  on  what  day.  I  went  to  the  bar 
and  found  the  prisoner  there.  He  asked  me  to  drink.  We 
both  then  went  into  a  room,  and  the  prisoner  sat  at  a  table 
with  some  of  his  own  men.  The  conversation  was  among 
themselves,  but  it  could  be  heard  at  the  off  side  of  the  room. 
It  was  on  Fenianism  and  the  probable  fate  of  the  State  pris- 
oners who  were  on  trial  at  that  time.  There  was  also  some- 
thing said  about  electing  a  President  as  soon  as  they  had  a 
free  republic.  They  were  all  paying  attention  to  what  was 
being  said,  but  I  cannot  tell  if  the  prisoner  said  more  than 
the  remainder.  Devoy  was  there,  and  Williams.  There  were 
other  civilians  present  whose  names  I  do  not  know.  I  had  a 
previous  conversation  in  January  with  the  prisoner  at  Hoey's, 
but  I  cannot  remember  what  it  was  about.  It  was  regarding 
Fenianism,  but  I  cannot  tell  the  words  made  use  of.  I  met 
the  prisoner  at  Waugh's  public  house  some  time  towards  the 
end  of  1865.  The  civilians  I  have  mentioned  were  there  and 
some  soldiers.  In  all  these  places  the  conversation  was  re- 
lating to  Fenianism,  but  I  cannot  say  if  they  were  in  hear- 
ing of  the  prisoner,  but  everybody  heard  them.  Devoy  was 
at  Waugh's,  I  think.  I  frequently  met  Devoy  in  company 
with  O'Reilly.  I  have  heard  Devoy  speak  in  presence  of  the 
prisoner  about  Fenianism,  but  I  cannot  remember  that  he 
said  anything  about  what  was  to  be  done  in  connection 
with  it. 

Prosecutor:  Was  there  at  any  of  these  meetings  of  which 
you  spoke,  and  at  which  the  prisoner  was  present,  any  con- 
versation of  an  intended  outbreak  or  mutiny? 

Prisoner:  I  object  to  that  question,  because  the  witness 
has  already  stated  the  substance  of  the  conversations  as  far 
as  he  can  remember.  The  prosecutor  had  no  right  to  lead 
the  witness,  and  put  into  his  mouth  the  very  words  of  the 

The  prosecutor  submitted  that  the  question  was  perfectly  fair 
and  legal. 

The  Deputy  Judge  Advocate  ruled  that  the  question  should  be 
so  framed  as  not  to  suggest  the  answer  to  it. 

Witness:  There  was  a  conversation  of  an  intended 
mutiny  that  was  to  take  place  in  January  or  the  latter  end 
of  February.  The  prisoner  could  have  heard  the  conversa- 
tion that  took  place  in  Hoey's,  in  January,  and  in  Barclay's, 
m  February.  I  reported  to  my  Colonel  in  February  the  sub- 
ject of  the  conversation. 

Court  adjourned  for  half  an  hour. 

Cross-examination  of  Private  Foley: 

n1  £a",  \ead  -and  write-  1  t00k  the  Fenian  oath.  I  did  not 
call  God  to  witness  I  would  keep  it.  I  know  the  nature  of 
an  oath.  It  is  to  tell  the  truth,  and  the  whole  truth.  I  had 
w«?s tai?ent  ™  m.y  nand  and  I  went  through  the  motion  of 

«orfS£  t'  * .  i  I*J?MU,05  d0  so-  1  swore  on  two  previous  oc- 
casions I  took  the  Fenian  oath.   Most  decidedly  I  took  the 



oath  with  the  intention  of  breaking  it.  I  cannot  see  how 
that  was  perjury.  I  had  to  take  the  oath,  in  a  way,  or  I 
would  have  known  nothing  about  the  Fenian  movement.  I 
was  examined  on  the  trial  of  Corporal  Chambers.  I  was 
sworn  on  the  trial  to  tell  the  whole  truth.  I  was  sworn  by 
the  president.  I  told  the  whole  truth  on  both  trials,  as  far 
as  I  can  remember.  I  know  Private  Denny  of  Tenth  Hus- 
sars by  appearance.  I  know  Lance-Corporal  Fitzgerald 
of  the  Tenth,  also  by  appearance.  I  know  Fitzgerald  per- 
sonally. I  only  knew  him  at  these  places  of  meeting.  I 
knew  him  in  January.  I  knew  him  to  speak  to  him.  I  know 
Private  Smith,  Tenth  Hussars,  by  appearance.  I  know  him 
only  by  speaking  to  him  in  the  month  of  February.  I  can- 
not say  whether  I  ever  saw  Private  Denny  in  Hoey's  public 
house  or  at  Barclay's  or  Bailey's.  I  cannot  say  how  often  I 
was  at  meetings  in  these  houses  in  February.  When  I  took 
the  Fenian  oath,  most  decidedly  I  intended  to  become  an  in- 
former. I  kept  no  memoranda  of  the  meetings  I  attended, 
as  I  reported  them  all  to  my  commanding  officer  in  the  morn- 
ings after  they  took  place.  My  reports  were  verbal  ones,  and 
I  never  took  down  the  names  of  those  I  met  at  the  meetings. 

Question:  Have  you  met  Corporal  Fitzgerald  at  any  of 
those  meetings? 

Witness  (to  President) :  I  am  very  near  tired,  sir,  answer- 
ing questions. 

President:    If  you  are  tired  standing,  you  may  sit  down. 

Witness:  I  met  Fitzgerald  at  Barclay's  and  at  Hoey's,  but 
I  cannot  say  how  often;  prisoner  was  present  when  I  saw 
Fitzgerald  at  Barclay's.  I  knew  him  personally  at  the  time. 
I  cannot  say  whether  I  then  spoke  to  him.  At  Corporal 
Chambers's  trial  I  was  asked  to  state,  and  did  so,  who  were 
present  at  the  meeting  at  Hoey's.  I  did  name  the  prisoner 
as  having  been  there. 

Court  here  adjourned  for  the  day. 
Cross-examination  of  Private  Foley  resumed,  on  July  5. 

Lance-Corporal  Fitzgerald  was  present  on  the  occasion 
when  I  said  he  was  at  Barclay's,  at  the  time  the  conversa- 
tion about  Fenianism  took  place. 

Lance-Corporal  Fitzgerald  was  here  confronted  with  the  wit- 
ness, and  stated  that  he  did  swear  that  he  met  the  prisoner  at 
Hoey's  and  at  Pilsworth's,  but  not  at  Barclay's.  Private  Foley 
would  not  be  swearing  what  was  true  if  he  swore  that  he  (Fitz- 
gerald) made  a  speech  on  Fenianism  at  Barclay's,  or  was  present 
at  a  conversation  there  about  electing  a  President,  "when  we 
would  have  a  free  republic." 

To  the  President: 

I  was  never  at  Hoey's  public  house  in  the  prisoner's  com- 
pany, but  I  was  there  two  or  three  days  after  his  arrest,  when 
a  man  named  Williams  came  up  to  the  barracks  and  told  me 
there  was  to  be  a  Fenian  meeting  at  Barclay's.  On  the  13th 
of  January,  prisoner  absented  himself,  and  on  the  14th  inst. 
(Sunday)  he  was  taken  from  the  barracks  by  a  detective 

To  the  Prosecutor: 

I  have  never  made  a  speech  on  Fenianism  to  my  recollec- 
tion, at  Barclay's.    I  might  have  said  things  when  I  was 


drunk  that  I  would  not  answer  for  afterwards.  I  swear 
positively  that  I  was  never  present  on  any  occasion  when 
there  was  talk  of  electing  a  President  of  a  republic.  I  might 
have  been  present  at  such  conversation  and  not  know  any- 
thing about  it. 

Prisoner  contended  that  this  evidence  should  have  been  given 
in  direct  examination  but  was  not  admissible  in  cross-examina- 

The  prosecutor  contended  that  the  witness,  who  was  recalled 
by  the  prisoner,  for  the  purpose  of  confronting  him  with  another, 
was  not  asked  anything  that  was  not  perfectly  fair  and  proper 
for  the  purpose  of  eliciting  the  truth. 

The  Deputy  Judge  Advocate  ruled  that  the  evidence  was  legal 
and  proper. 

Witness  to  Prosecutor: 

I  never  made  a  speech  on  Fenianism,  to  my  recollection,  at 
any  place.  I  might  have  said  things  when  I  was  drunk  that 
I  would  not  answer  for  afterwards.  I  was  drunk  every  time 
I  went  there  afterwards.  I  swear  positively  I  was  never 
present  on  an  occasion  when  there  was  a  conversation  about 
electing  a  President  of  a  republic.  I  might  have  been  present 
at  such  conversation  when  drunk,  and  not  know  anything 
about  it. 

The  Court:  Why  was  Williams  sent  to  tell  you  of  the 
Fenian  meeting  if,  as  you  say,  you  had  previously  refused 
to  become  a  Fenian? 

Witness:  He  was  sent,  I  don't  know  by  whom,  but  he 
used  to  go  round  to  Island  Bridge  and  Richmond  Barracks 
for  that  purpose. 

Private  Foley  (re-examined  by  prosecutor) : 

Having  heard  the  evidence  of  Lance-Corporal  Fitzgerald, 
I  have  not  the  least  doubt  that  I  met  him  at  Barclay's  in 
February  last.  The  reason  I  did  not,  on  Corporal  Chambers's 
trial,  mention  prisoner  as  being  present  at  Barclay's  in  Feb- 
ruary, was  that  I  had  some  doubts  of  his  name.  I  have  now 
no  doubt  that  he  was  present. 

To  the  Prisoner: 

I  did  mention  your  name  to  the  prosecution  about  a  fort- 
night ago. 

This  ended  the  examination  of  Informer  Foley.  He  was  fol- 
lowed by  a  duller,  but  more  malicious  knave,  Private  Maher,  who 
boasted,  with  low  cunning,  that  he  had  taken  the  Fenian  oath 
out  of  curiosity,  and  with  the  intention  of  betraying  his  fellows; 
repeated  his  own  smart  repartees,  and  put  into  the  mouth  of 
the  prisoner  the  wholly  imaginary  atrocious  promise,  that  he 
would  hamstring  the  cavalry  horses  in  case  of  emergency.  One 
can  almost  form  a  picture  of  this  ruffian  from  his  own  words. 
The  official  report  reads: 



Private  Maher,  First  Battalion,  Eighth  Regiment,  deposed: 
He  was  a  member  of  the  Fenian  Society  and  attended  several 
meetings  of  that  body,  at  which  were  present  other  soldiers. 
He  saw  the  prisoner  at  a  meeting  in  Hoey's  public-house  in 
January,  in  company  with  Devoy  and  Williams,  whom  he 
knew  to  be  Fenians,  and  with  other  soldiers,  as  also  with 
Baines,  Rynd,  and  others.  On  that  occasion  he  saw  a  sketch 
of  Island  Bridge  Barracks  in  the  prisoner's  hand,  which  he 
was  explaining  to  Devoy. 

The  President:    You  are  asked  what  was  said. 

Witness:  Devoy  said  he  wanted  a  few  men  out  of  the 
Hussars  to  give  them  instruction  what  to  do,  and  he  wanted 
about  ten  men  out  of  each  regiment  in  Dublin.  The  prisoner 
spoke  of  cutting  the  hamstrings  of  the  horses  in  the  stables 
in  case  of  any  emergency.  The  conversation  then  turned  on 
a  rising  in  the  army  and  how  the  men  would  act.  I  said 
the  Irishmen  in  the  army  saw  no  prospect  before  them,  and 
they  would  be  great  fools  to  commit  themselves.  Devoy  said 
they  would  not  be  asked  until  a  force  came  from  America.  I 
said  it  was  all  moonshine,  and  that  they  were  a  long  time 
coming.  He  told  me  I  seemed  chicken-hearted,  and  that 
they  required  no  men  but  those  who  were  willing  and  brave. 
I  told  him  I  was  as  brave  as  himself,  and  that  he  should  not 
form  soldiers  in  a  room  for  the  purpose  of  discussing  Fenian- 
ism.  That  is  all  the  conversation  I  can  remember  on  that 

Cross-examined  by  the  Prisoner: 

I  was  examined  on  Corporal  Chambers's  trial.  I  am  not 
sure  whether  I  named  you  as  one  of  the  soldiers  present  on 
the  occasion  referred  to  in  my  evidence.  I  took  the  Fenian 
oath,  out  of  curiosity  to  see  what  the  Irish  conspiracy  or 
republic,  as  they  called  it,  was.  If  any  serious  consequences 
would  arise  I  would  have  given  information  of  the  movement. 
I  had  an  opportunity  of  seeing  into  the  Fenian  movement, 
and  I  saw  that  nothing  serious  was  going  to  happen.  If 
there  was  I  would  have  known  it  days  before,  and  then  given 
information.  I  heard  Stephens  himself  say  at  Bergin's,  that 
the  excitement  should  be  kept  up,  while  aid  from  America 
was  expected.  In  last  March  I  made  a  statement  affecting 

This  closed  the  case  for  the  prosecution. 

At  the  request  of  the  prisoner  the  Court  adjourned  to  Sat- 
urday, July  7,  to  give  him  time  to  prepare  his  defense. 

Court  having  assembled  on  that  date,  the  prisoner  re- 
quested that  some  member  of  it  be  appointed  to  read  his 

Lieutenant  Parkinson,  Sixty-first  Regiment,  was  then  re- 
quested to  do  so. 

The  defense  commenced  by  thanking  the  Court  for  the 
patient  and  candid  consideration  which  had  been  bestowed 
by  the  members  throughout  the  trial,  and  stated  that  the 
prisoner  had  no  doubt  but  that  the  same  qualities  would 
be  exhibited  in  consideration  of  the  points  which  would  be 
submitted  to  them  for  his  defense.  The  charge  against  him 
was  one  involving  terrible  consequences,  and  he  had  no  doubt 
the  greater  would  be  the  anxiety  of  the  Court  in  testing  the 
evidence  brought  against  him. 



There  was  only  one  charge  which  the  Court  had  to  con- 
sider, and  that  was:  "Having  come  to  the  knowledge  of  an 
intended  mutiny."  To  sustain  that  charge  the  prosecutor 
should  prove,  first,  that  there  was  a  mutiny  actually  intended; 
second,  that  he  (the  prisoner)  had  a  knowledge  of  that  in- 
tention, and  third,  that  he  possessed  that  knowledge  in  Janu- 
ary, 1866,  and  did  not  communicate  it  to  his  commanding 
officer.  The  prosecutor  was  bound  to  prove  each  and  every 
one  of  those  allegations,  by  evidence  on  which  the  court 
might  safely  act.  After  referring  to  his  services  he  asked 
the  court  to  bear  in  mind  his  good  reputation,  while  consider- 
ing the  evidence  against  him,  as  it  must  have  observed  that, 
from  the  character  of  some  of  the  proofs  upon  which  the 
prosecutor  relied,  in  conversation  with  no  third  person  pres- 
ent, and  no  date  fixed,  it  was  impossible  to  displace  such 
testimony  by  direct  evidence. 

The  defense  then  pointed  out  various  discrepancies  be- 
tween various  witnesses  and  the  contradiction  between  the 
evidence  of  Privates  Denny  and  Smith,  where  Denny  had 
clearly  committed  perjury.  But  even  if  these  men's  evidence 
were  true,  it  would  not  bring  home  to  him  one  fact  to  bear 
out  the  charge. 

None  of  these  witnesses  can  say  that  in  his  presence  one 
word  was  ever  said  respecting  the  designs  or  the  plans  of  the 
Fenians,  and  it  only  amounted  to  this,  that  one  day,  in  a 
casual  conversation,  he  said  to  Smith  that  some  persons  they 
had  met  were  Americans  and  Fenian  agents.  In  the  whole 
evidence,  which,  in  the  cases  of  Foley  and  Maher  was  that  of 
informers,  there  was  much  to  which  the  addition  or  omis- 
sion of  a  word  would  give  a  very  different  color  to  what  it 
had  got.  What  was  the  amount  of  credit  to  be  given  to  those 
men,  when  it  was  remembered  that  they  both  took  the  Fenian 
oath,  the  one,  as  he  said,  through  curiosity,  the  other  with 
the  deliberate  design  of  informing? 

Maher's  oath,  on  his  own  admission,  had  not  been  believed 
by  a  civil  court  of  justice;  and  would  this  court  believe  it 
and  convict  a  man  of  crime  upon  such  testimony?  He  (the 
prisoner)  asked  the  court  to  reject  this  testimony  and  rely 
upon  that  of  his  commanding  officer,  Colonel  Baker,  who  had 
deposed  to  his  good  character  as  a  soldier.  In  conclusion, 
the  prisoner  appealed  to  the  Deputy  Judge  Advocate,  to 
direct  the  court  that  unless  he  had  personal  knowledge  of  an 
intended  mutiny  in  January,  he  was  entitled  to  an  acquittal. 
Guilt  was  never  to  be  assumed,  it  should  be  proved;  for  sus- 
picion, no  matter  how  accumulated,  could  never  amount  to 
the  mental  conviction  on  which  alone  the  court  should  act. 

The  defense  having  concluded,  prisoner  called  Capt.  Barthorp, 
Tenth  Hussars,  who  was  a  member  of  the  court.  In  reply  to 
questions  put,  Capt.  Barthorp  said: 

He  was  captain  of  the  prisoner's  troop,  and  had  known 
him  for  three  years.   His  character  was  good. 

Mr.  Anderson,  Crown  Solicitor,  was  sworn  and  examined  by 
prisoner  with  regard  to  a  portion  of  Private  Maher's  evidence  on 
Corporal  Chambers's  trial,  relative  to  the  alleged  meeting.  Maher 
did  not  mention  the  prisoner  as  having  been  present  at  the  al- 



leged  meeting,  when  giving  evidence  at  Chambers's  trial;  but  on 
the  present  one  he  swore  that  he  was  present. 

In  reply  to  the  Prosecutor: 

Deputy  Judge  Advocate  said  he  could  not  state  whether 
the  meeting  of  which  Maher  had  deposed  at  Chambers's  trial 
was  the  same  mentioned  on  this. 

Prisoner:  I  would  wish  to  ask  the  Deputy  Judge  Advo- 
cate a  question  which  arises  out  of  his  answer:  Did  you  not 
hear  Private  Maher  asked  on  my  trial  to  name  the  persons 
he  had  met  at  the  meeting  which  he  deposed  to  at  Corporal 
Chambers's  trial,  and  did  he  not  do  so? 

Deputy  Judge  Advocate:  I  did  hear  that  evidence  given; 
I  did  hear  him  state  the  names. 

Adjutant  Russell,  Tenth  Hussars,  in  answer  to  prisoner, 
said:  He  (prisoner)  was  put  under  arrest  on  the  14th  of  Feb- 
ruary. The  prisoner  was  in  hospital  for  several  days  in  Feb- 
ruary, from  19th  to  26th. 

President:  I  do  not  wish  to  interrupt  the  prisoner,  but  I 
wish  to  point  out  that  these  dates  are  all  subsequent  to  the 

At  this  point  court  adjourned  to  eleven  o'clock  Monday 

At  the  reopening  of  the  court,  Capt.  Whelan  (the  prosecutor) 
proceeded  to  answer  the  defense  of  the  prisoner.  His  reply 
entered  elaborately  into  the  whole  evidence  that  had  been  given, 
and  commented  on  the  various  points  raised  for  the  defense. 
Capt.  Whelan  defended  strongly  the  various  witnesses  from  the 
charge  brought  against  them  by  the  prisoner,  of  being  informers, 
and  insisted  that  they  were  all  trustworthy  and  credible,  and  that 
the  discrepancies  pointed  out  in  the  defense  were  such  as  would 
naturally  arise. 

The  Deputy  Judge  Advocate  then  proceeded  to  sum  up  the 
whole  evidence.   In  doing  so,  he  said: 

The  court  should  bear  in  mind  that  the  existence  of  an 
intended  mutiny  should  be  proved  before  the  prisoner  should 
be  found  guilty  of  the  charges  upon  which  he  was  arraigned. 
The  court  should  also  bear  in  mind  that  it  was  for  it  to  prove 
charges  and  not  for  the  prisoner  to  disprove  them.  To  expe- 
rienced officers,  like  those  composing  the  court,  it  was  not 
necessary  for  him  (the  Judge-Advocate)  to  state  what  the 
law  was,  bearing  on  those  charges.  He  might  say,  however, 
that  if  the  prisoner  did  come  to  the  knowledge  of  an  intended 
mutiny,  it  would  be  for  them  to  say  whether  the  prisoner  had 
given  notice  of  any  such  intended  mutiny  to  his  commanding 
officer.  This,  his  commanding  officers  state,  he  did  not  do;  so 
that  it  became  the  subject  of  inquiry  whether  any  such 
mutiny  was  intended.  They  had  the  evidence  of  Head  Con- 
stable Talbot  on  that  point,  and  they  should  attentively  weigh 
it.  Assuming  that  it  was  intended,  and  that  the  prisoner  was 
aware  of  it  and  an  accomplice  in  the  design,  they  had  then 
no  less  than  eight  witnesses  to  prove  that  complicity.  The 
Deputy  Judge  Advocate  then  went  minutely  through  the  whole 



evidence,  which  he  recapitulated  in  a  lucid  manner,  point- 
ing out  to  the  court  where  it  was  favorable  for  the  prisoner 
or  bore  against  him. 

The  Judge  Advocate  concluded  by  saying:  "Now,  on  a  calm 
and  fair  review  of  the  evidence,  determining  in  favor  of  the 
prisoner  everything  of  which  there  was  reasonable  doubt, 
straining  nothing  against  him,  is  the  court  satisfied  that  the 
facts  are  inconsistent  with  any  other  conclusion  than  the 
prisoner's  guilt?  Is  the  court  satisfied  that  the  Fenians  in- 
tended mutiny  as  one  of  the  essentials  of  that  plot? 

"Are  they  satisfied  that  the  prisoner  knew  of  that  inten- 
tion? If  you  are  not  satisfied  that  the  evidence  adduced  for 
the  prosecution  has  brought  home  to  the  prisoner  the  charges 
on  which  he  is  indicted;  if  you  can  fairly  and  honestly  see 
your  way  to  put  an  innocent  construction  on  the  prisoner's 
acts,  it  is  your  duty  to  do  so. 

"But,  on  the  other  hand,  if  the  court  has  no  rational  doubt 
of  the  prisoner's  guilt,  then  it  is  bound,  without  favor,  par- 
tiality, or  affection,  to  find  their  verdict  accordingly.  Re- 
member, though,  that  although  you  may  feel  very  great  sus- 
picion of  the  prisoner's  guilt,  yet  if  you  are  not  satisfied  that 
the  charge  is  proved  home  to  him  beyond  rational  doubt,  no 
amount  of  suspicion  will  justify  conviction.  Apply  to  your 
consideration  of  the  evidence,  the  same  calm,  deliberate,  and 
faithful  attention  and  judgment  which  you  would  apply  to 
your  own  most  serious  affairs,  if  all  you  value  most  and  hold 
most  dear,  your  lives  and  honor,  were  in  peril.  The  law  de- 
mands no  more,  and  your  duty  will  be  satisfied  with  no  less." 

At  the  conclusion  of  the  Judge  Advocate's  address,  the  court 
was  made  private,  to  consider  their  finding.  After  a  short  time 
it  was  reopened,  and  Adjutant  Russell,  Tenth  Hussars,  was  called 
to  give  testimony  as  to  the  prisoner's  character.  He  said  that  it 
had  been  good  during  his  three  years  and  thirty-one  days  of 

The  court  was  then  again  cleared  and  the  result  was  not 
known  until  officially  promulgated  by  the  Horse  Guards. 

On  July  9,  1866,  formal  sentence  of  death  was  passed  upon 
all  the  military  prisoners.  It  was  only  a  formality.  The  same 
day,  it  was  commuted  to  life  imprisonment  in  the  cases  of 
O'Reilly,  McCarthy,  Chambers,  Keating  and  Darragh.  The  sen- 
tence of  O'Reilly  was  subsequently  commuted  to  twenty  years' 
penal  servitude. 

Adjutant  Russell,  referred  to  in  the  preceding  report,  better 
known  as  Lord  Odo  Russell,  had  pleaded  successfully  for  leniency 
in  behalf  of  the  youthful  prisoner.  The  first  step  in  execution 
of  the  sentence  was  taken  on  Monday  afternoon,  September  3,  in 
the  Royal  Square,  Royal  Barracks,  in  the  presence  of  the  Fifth 
Dragoon  Guards,  Second  Battalion,  Third  Regiment,  Seventy- 
fifth  Regiment,  Ninety-second  Highlanders,  and  Eighty-fifth 
Light  Infantry.    The  prisoner  was  then  and  there  made  listen 



to  the  reading  of  his  sentence,  stripped  of  his  military  uniform, 
clothed  in  the  convict's  dress,  and  escorted  to  Mount] oy  prison. 

Before  dismissing  the  story  of  his  trial  (says  James  Jeffrey 
Roche) ,  I  may  here  relate  a  curious  sequel,  which  occurred  some 
six  or  seven  years  later  in  the  city  of  Boston.  O'Reilly  had  many 
strange  visitors  in  his  newspaper  office,  but  perhaps  the  strangest 
of  all  was  one  of  the  two  informers  before  mentioned.  This 
fellow,  after  O'Reilly's  conviction,  found  himself  so  despised  and 
shunned  by  his  fellow-soldiers,  both  English  and  Irish,  that  his 
life  became  unendurable.  He  deserted  the  army  and  fled  to 
America,  where  the  story  of  his  treachery  had  preceded  him. 
He  was  starving  in  the  streets  of  Boston  when  he  met  his  former 
victim,  and  threw  himself  upon  his  mercy.  Almost  any  other 
man  would  have  enjoyed  the  spectacle  of  the  traitor's  misery. 
O'Reilly  saw  only  the  pity  of  it  all,  and  gave  the  wretch  enough 
money  to  supply  his  immediate  wants,  and  pay  his  way  to  some 
more  propitious  spot. 

The  foregoing  courtmartial  account,  as  already  mentioned,  is 
taken  from  James  Jeffry  Roche's  "Life  of  John  Boyle  O'Reilly". 
I  will  now  add  a  few  personal  observations  on  the  informers. 

It  will  be  noticed  that  in  the  case  of  all  the  military  informers 
except  Foley  and  Maher  (in  Mr.  Roche's  book  spelled  incor- 
rectly as  Meara)  they  said  they  had  not  taken  the  Fenian 
oath  and  did  not  remember  names.  Every  man  of  them  took  the 
oath,  and  they  only  told  as  much  as  would  save  themselves. 
They  all  knew  my  name  and  knew  there  was  a  warrant  for 
my  arrest.  Every  one  of  the  80  men  in  the  Tenth  Hussars  was 
brought  to  me  by  O'Reilly  and  I  did  the  swearing  in. 

Corporal  Fitzgerald  of  the  Tenth  Hussars  was  a  London  Irish- 
man and  I  have  no  doubt  would  have  fought  well  if  the  Rising 
had  come  off  before  his  arrest.  Maher  was  a  Tipperary  man,  a 
solemn  fellow  who  talked  generalities.  One  of  his  favorite  say- 
ings was:  "A  sojer  has  a  haurt,  as  well  as  another  man."  He  was 
orderly  one  day  at  the  Under  Secretary's  office  in  Dublin  Castle, 
when  he  overheard  a  conversation  between  two  detectives  in 
which  they  mentioned  the  name  of  a  man  who  had  given  private 
information  and  that  made  him  lose  heart  and  turn  informer 
after  being  arrested.  He  was  shot  by  a  young  man  named 
McNeill  in  Hoey's  public  house  in  Bridgefoot  Street  during  the 
trials,  but  though  hit  by  three  bullets  none  of  them  touched  a 
vital  spot  and  he  was  not  killed.  One  bullet  hit  Paddy  Lawlor 
of  Newbridge  (the  man  who  had  decoyed  him  there)  in  the  foot 



and  that  saved  Lawlor.  He  was  arrested  on  suspicion  and  told 
me  the  story  in  Mountjoy  Prison. 

I  was  warned  against  Patrick  Foley  by  Montague,  Centre  of 
the  Fifth  Dragoon  Guards  (then  a  deserter)  and  I  passed  the 
warning  to  the  men,  but  he  followed  some  of  them  to  Pilsworth's 
public  house  on  the  night  of  our  arrest,  was  "arrested"  with  us, 
but  taken  out  of  the  cell  in  Chancery  Lane  police  station  about 
an  hour  after  our  arrival.  Police  Inspector  Doyle  admitted  to  me 
(in  a  whisper)  next  morning  that  Foley  was  the  man  who  had 
given  us  away. 

There  was  never  any  singing  at  any  of  my  meetings  with  the 
soldiers  except  that  of  the  regular  hired  singers.  There  were 
then  a  number  of  singing  public  houses  in  Dublin  and  they  were 
selected  for  our  meetings  because  casual  visitors  attracted  no 
attention.  James  Stephens  was  never  present  at  any  of  these 
gatherings  and  his  name  was  never  mentioned.  The  statement 
made  by  one  of  the  informers  that  he  spoke  to  him  was  perjury. 

There  were  8,000  sworn  Fenians  in  the  regiments  stationed  in 
Ireland  at  that  time  and  only  one,  Patrick  Foley,  turned  informer 
before  being  arrested,  and  Foley  admitted  in  his  testimony  that 
he  joined  as  a  spy.  That  fact  speaks  for  itself  as  to  the  reliability 
of  the  soldier  Fenians. 



A  Counsel  of  Despair — Insurgents  Had  Practically  No  Arms  and 
the  Favorable  Conditions  of  1865-66  were  then  Non-Exis- 
tent— Raid  on  Chester  Castle  and  O'Connor  Incident  in 
Kerry  on  February  11,  1867,  Premature — Marred  Slim 
Chances  of  General  Rising  in  March. 

The  Rising  of  1867  from  a  military  standpoint  failed  dismally. 
It  could  not  have  been  otherwise  under  the  circumstances.  The 
favorable  elements  which  prevailed  at  the  end  of  1865  and  the 
beginning  of  1866  had  been  dissipated;  sufficient  time  had  not 
elapsed  in  which  to  remedy  the  weaknesses  and  deficiencies  which 
characterized  the  situation  under  Stephens. 

The  organization  in  the  British  Army  (fully  described  in  Part 
III  of  this  book)  was  the  right  arm  of  the  movement  and  if 
used  at  the  proper  time  would  have  contributed  to  success  in 
two  ways,  both  of  which  were  very  important  militarily.  First, 
it  would  have  broken  the  morale  of  the  British  Army  in  Ireland 
and  crippled  its  power  to  suppress  an  Insurrection;  and  secondly, 
it  would  have  supplied  the  Fenians  with  a  splendid  nucleus  for  a 
trained  army  and  provided  the  conditions  which  would  have 
enabled  the  Republic  (which  they  intended  to  proclaim)  to  de- 
mand International  Recognition. 

At  that  time  (1865-6)  the  United  States  was  ready  to  recog- 
nize Ireland's  Independence,  if  an  early  military  success,  the 
possession  of  a  port,  military  occupation  of  a  considerable  area 
of  territory  and  the  existence  of  a  Provisional  Government  in 
control  of  the  Civil  Administration,  afforded  justification  in  Inter- 
national Law. 

But,  when  the  Rising  took  place  in  1867,  most  of  the  British 
regiments  which  included  strong  forces  of  sworn  Fenians  had 
been  transferred  out  of  Ireland;  the  stock  of  rifles  in  the  hands 
of  the  civilian  Fenians  had  been  considerably  reduced  through 
police  raids,  and  the  reliance  of  the  Home  Organization  on 
America  for  a  supply  sufficient  to  reasonably  equip  the  men  still 



The  decision  to  fight  in  1867  was  a  counsel  of  despair.  The 
ability  of  the  Fenians  to  undertake  an  insurrection  in  that  year 
was  considerably  less  than  it  was  twelve  or  eighteen  months 
earlier,  but  on  the  other  hand  it  is  true  that  the  reasons  for 
challenging  the  tyrannical  rule  of  England  had  become  intensi- 
fied in  the  meantime. 

T.  D.  Sullivan  in  commenting  on  the  Rising  wrote: 

"Brave  Irishmen  who  had  had  actual  experience  of  war 
in  the  armies  of  America,  had  crossed  the  Atlantic,  and 
landed  in  England  and  Ireland,  to  give  the  movement  the 
benefit  of  their  services.  To  these  men  the  break-down  of 
James  Stephens  was  a  stunning  blow,  *  *  *  they  consid- 
ered that  they  could  not  return  to  America  with  their  mis- 
sion unattempted,  and  they  resolved  to  establish  their  own 
honesty  and  sincerity  at  all  events,  as  well  as  the  courage 
and  earnestness  of  the  Fenian  Brotherhood  in  Ireland,  by 
taking  the  desperate  course  of  engaging  forthwith  in  open 
insurrection.  It  was  in  conformity  with  their  arrangements, 
and  in  obedience  to  their  directions,  that  the  rising  took 
place  on  the  night  of  the  5th  of  March,  1867." 

The  leaders  of  the  Irish  Republican  Brotherhood  were  to 
some  extent  actuated  in  their  decision  by  the  considerations  set 
forth  by  T.  D.  Sullivan;  it  also  may  be  said  that  in  their  opinion 
it  "was  better  to  have  fought  and  lost,  than  never  to  have  fought 
at  all".  Even  though  the  attempt  which  they  made  can  hardly 
be  called  an  insurrection,  yet  their  gesture  was  a  brave  one  and 
they  passed  on  the  "burning  brand"  to  the  generations  that  fol- 
lowed. Their  demonstration  against  English  Rule  had  important 
results  in  later  days. 

On  reviewing  the  facts  of  the  '67  Rising,  the  wonder  is  not 
that  it  was  such  a  military  fiasco  but  that  it  should  have  been 
attempted  at  all  under  the  circumstances.  The  efforts  of  the 
men  who  "came  out"  in  Dublin,  Cork,  Clare,  Limerick,  Tipperary, 
Kerry,  and  in  smaller  numbers  in  a  few  other  counties,  were 
confined  to  attacks  on  police  barracks  and  coastguard  stations, 
and  they  were  miserably  equipped  for  even  such  petty  opera- 

A  year  earlier  the  chances  for  initial  civilian  successes,  as  I 
have  pointed  out  in  previous  chapters,  were  favorable  to  such 
a  degree  as  to  ensure  the  immediate  co-operation  of  the  formi- 
dable force  of  Fenians  in  the  British  Army  of  Occupation.  On  the 
other  hand,  the  conditions  under  which  the  Rising  of  '67  was 
undertaken  were  such  as  to  preclude  all  possibility  of  participa- 
tion on  the  side  of  the  Irish  by  any  of  the  disorganized  and  scat- 
tered Fenian  soldiers  who  still  remained  in  Ireland. 

No  matter  from  what  angle  the  situation  of  March,  1867,  is 
examined,  the  possibility  of  a  successful  insurrection  in  that  year 



did  not  exist,  but  whatever  chance  there  was  for  the  men  of  the 
organization  as  a  whole  to  make  even  a  passable  showing  was 
marred  by  two  premature  movements  in  the  month  previous. 
The  Raid  on  Chester  Castle  by  Captain  John  McCafferty,  and 
the  uprising  in  Kerry  under  Colonel  O'Connor,  on  February  11, 
1867 — both  due  to  the  fact  that  the  general  Rising  was  originally 
set  for  that  date,  and  that  the  order  postponing  action  to  March 
5  did  not  reach  them  in  time, — reawakened  the  English  to  the 
menace  of  Fenianism,  and  they  were  on  the  qui  vive  to  deal  with 
the  March  outbreak  in  its  initial  stages.  Yet,  if  the  Chester  Raid 
had  succeeded,  its  effect  on  the  Rising  in  Ireland  would  have  had 
a  totally  different  effect. 

The  opinion  at  the  time  was  that  Captain  John  McCafferty 
grew  impatient  of  delay,  planned  the  Chester  Raid  on  his  own 
responsibility  and  sent  word  to  Colonel  O'Connor  in  Cahirciveen 
to  strike  on  the  same  date.  But  the  balance  of  proof  seems  to 
absolve  McCafferty  and  to  show  that  he  believed  all  Ireland  was 
to  rise  on  February  11  and  that  his  move  on  Chester  would  be 
simultaneous  with  it. 

Joseph  Denieffe,  who  was  very  well  informed  of  what  was 
going  on,  says  in  his  book  that  the  date  of  the  Rising  was  orig- 
inally fixed  for  February  11  and  then  postponed  to  March  5,  but 
gives  no  reason  why  the  change  was  made.  I  have  no  personal 
knowledge  on  the  subject,  for  I  was  in  prison  at  the  time,  but  all 
my  information  led  me  for  many  years  to  believe  that  McCafferty 
was  in  fault,  as  he  was  an  eccentric,  self-willed  man,  with  the 
guerilla  habit  of  doing  what  he  thought  proper  and  often  dis- 
obeying orders.  While  awaiting  trial  in  Kilmainham  we  were 
brought  to  Green  Street  Courthouse  every  day  and  the  guard 
of  Dublin  policemen  placed  over  us  in  the  waiting  room  were  all 
friendly  and  allowed  our  families  to  talk  freely  with  us.  My 
eldest  sister  brought  me  several  verbal  messages  from  Edward 
Duffy,  who  was  temporary  head  of  the  organization  during 
Stephens's  absence  in  America,  and  one  of  them,  about  the  9th 
of  February,  1867,  said:  "The  fight  will  be  in  three  weeks,  but 
we'll  be  badly  beaten.  Plead  guilty,  so  as  to  get  a  short  sentence, 
so  you  can  remain  in  Ireland  and  help  to  reorganize  the  move- 
ment."   The  same  message  was  conveyed  to  me  by  Mrs.  Luby. 

The  Fenians  of  Northern  England  knew  of  no  postponement 
and  answered  McCafferty's  call  to  concentrate  on  Chester  on 
February  11.  Michael  Davitt,  who  had  lost  his  right  arm,  tells 
of  carrying  a  bag  of  bullets  to  Chester,  as  he  couldn't  use  a 
weapon.  He  was  not  an  officer  of  the  organization,  but  knew 
that  the  order  was  for  the  February  date  and  the  men  in  Lan- 



cashire,  where  he  lived,  obeyed  it.  Of  course,  no  written  record 
of  the  meetings  was  kept. 

Captain  McCafferty  had  a  surprise  plan  for  the  capture  of 
Chester  Castle  which  seemed  to  give  promise  of  success.  Sev- 
eral thousand  rifles  and  a  large  quantity  of  ammunition  were 
stored  in  the  castle,  there  was  no  large  body  of  troops  stationed 
near  it,  and  two  or  three  steamers  were  anchored  in  the  harbor. 
The  men  of  the  North  of  England  were  armed  only  with  revolvers, 
but  they  would  have  been  sufficient  to  enable  them  to  overpower 
the  small  military  guard  in  the  castle  and  to  take  possession  of 
the  steamer.  Loading  the  arms  on  one  of  the  vessels  would 
require  some  time,  but,  with  the  telegraph  wires  cut,  the  work 
could  be  done  before  any  military  force  could  arrive.  McCafferty's 
plan  was  to  land  the  arms  on  the  Eastern  Coast  of  Ireland  near 
Dublin.  Had  it  succeeded,  the  fiasco  of  March  5  would  have 
been  averted.  He  had  performed  a  bigger  feat  than  that  while 
Grant  was  besieging  Vicksburg,  and  the  chances  of  success  were 
all  in  his  favor. 

But  the  plans  were  all  upset  by  the  spy,  John  Joseph  Corydon, 
whom  nobody  suspected  at  the  time.  He  was  trusted  by  McCaf- 
ferty and  gave  the  Government  timely  information,  which  en- 
abled it  to  frustrate  the  project.  Troops  were  rapidly  moved 
to  Chester  and  many  of  them  arrived  before  the  hour  set  for  the 
attack.  The  Fenians  were  at  their  rendezvous,  ready  for  action, 
but  McCafferty  did  not  arrive  on  time  and  they  had  no  com- 
mander. They  could  not  fight  regular  soldiers  with  revolvers 
and  were  puzzled  by  the  absence  of  McCafferty.  When  he  reached 
Chester  several  hours  late  he  doubtless  explained  his  delay  satis- 
factorily, but  the  rest  of  the  organization  were  left  in  ignorance 
of  it  for  several  years.  The  awkward  and  maddening  fact  to  him 
was  that  the  train  on  which  he  was  coming  from  London  was 
sidetracked  to  allow  the  troop  trains  to  pass. 

I  got  this  information  from  him  only  about  1874.  He  then  had 
a  plan  to  capture  the  Prince  of  Wales  and  hold  him  as  a  hostage 
to  compel  the  release  of  the  men  still  in  prison,  mainly  the 
soldiers  in  Australia,  and  some  civilians  including  Michael  Davitt 
and  those  convicted  for  complicity  in  the  Manchester  Rescue  in 
England.  He  talked  rather  loosely  of  it  to  enlist  support,  and  a 
few  hotheads  like  John  Kearney  of  Millstreet,  County  Cork,  were 
enthusiastically  in  favor  of  it.  They  wanted  $5,000  from  the 
Clan-na-Gael,  which  was  refused  because  the  Executive  con- 
sidered the  project  to  be  impracticable  and  the  preparations 
for  the  Australian  Rescue  had  already  been  begun.  Kearney  and 
I  had  an  argument  about  it  one  day  in  Rossa's  Hotel  and  he  told 
McCafferty  that  I  had  called  him  a  coward,  which  was  a  twist 



from  what  I  had  actually  said.  A  day  or  two  later  McCafferty 
called  on  me  and  said  in  the  cold,  quiet  way  which  was  his  habit 
and  in  a  low  voice:  "Devoy,  I'm  told  you  have  called  me  a 
coward.  Now  I  don't  allow  any  man  to  call  me  a  coward  and 
live."  He  was  the  most  desperate  man  in  the  movement,  who 
never  made  idle  threats,  so  I  replied:  "McCafferty,  you'll  please 
allow  me  to  live  long  enough  to  tell  you  that  I  did  not  call  you  a 
coward,  and  I'd  be  a  damned  fool  if  I  did.  What  I  said  to  John 
Kearney  was  that  you  did  not  get  to  Chester  in  time  and  that 
the  men  you  brought  there  were  left  without  a  commander." 
He  then  explained  to  me  about  the  troop  trains  with  the  rein- 
forcements for  Chester  blocking  the  railroad  and  delaying  his 
train,  and  then  walked  away  without  another  word. 

The  North  of  England  men  could  not  return  to  their  homes 
and  would  not  have  got  their  jobs  back  if  they  did,  so  many  of 
them  tried  to  get  to  Ireland,  as  they  believed  the  fight  was  going 
on  there.  Three  hundred  of  them  went  on  a  Liverpool  steamer 
to  Dublin,  but  a  large  force  of  police  was  waiting  for  them  on 
the  quay  and  they  were  all  arrested.  The  number  of  Irishmen 
on  the  trains  in  the  Chester  area  had  attracted  widespread  atten- 
tion and  the  townspeople  were  greatly  alarmed,  but  no  arrests 
were  made  in  England.  McCafferty  made  his  way  to  Dublin,  but 
was  arrested  on  landing  and  later  tried  and  convicted.  I  met 
him  in  Portland  Prison  and  we  worked  at  stone  cutting  in  the 
same  gang. 

The  Government  was  greatly  alarmed  at  the  danger  of  fight- 
ing in  England  itself.  As  the  episode  developed,  Chester  was  only 
a  demonstration,  but  its  significance  was  not  lost  on  the  Govern- 
ment. There  were  no  warships  near  Chester  or  anywhere  on  the 
East  Coast  of  Ireland  at  the  time  and  the  arms  could  have  been 
easily  landed  if  Corydon  had  not  been  told  of  the  intended  attack 
on  the  castle.  Then  the  fight  in  Ireland  would  have  been  begun 
with  several  thousand  fully  armed  men,  with  a  desperate  fighter 
at  their  head.  McCafferty  would  have  probably  landed  in  Wick- 
low  where  the  mountains  afford  excellent  fighting  ground.  His 
experience  in  the  Confederate  Army  was  entirely  as  a  Guerilla, 
and  Michael  Dwyer's  feats  in  Wicklow  from  1798  to  1803  showed 
what  difficulties  a  regular  army  would  have  to  face. 

The  newspaper  reports  of  the  Rising  in  Kerry  at  the  same 
time  as  the  Chester  Raid,  from  which  A.  M.  Sullivan  took  his 
account  of  it  in  his  "New  Ireland",  are  full  of  errors  and  grotesque 
exaggerations,  with  the  exception  of  the  wild  panic  of  the  Kerry 
gentry.   What  really  occurred  was  this: 

Head  Constable  O'Connell,  in  command  of  the  Peelers  in 
Cahirciveen,  numbering  twenty,  although  a  Protestant,  had  four 



sons  who  were  all  Fenians  and  a  daughter  who  strongly  sym- 
pathized with  the  movement.  She  was  a  fine,  tall  girl  and 
carried  out  under  her  cloak,  two  at  a  time,  all  the  rifles  in  the 
barrack  and  handed  them  to  her  brothers  outside,  and  they 
passed  them  to  Colonel  O'Connor's  men.  I  knew  the  four 
O'Connell  brothers  and  their  splendid  sister  some  years  later  in 
New  Haven,  Conn.,  where  they  were  in  the  building  business, 
and  the  four  were  members  of  the  Clan-na-Gael.  I  got  valuable 
information  about  the  Kerry  Rising  from  them.  Colonel  John 
J.  O'Connor  had  a  fine  fighting  record  in  the  Union  Army  in  the 
Civil  War;  he  returned  to  his  native  county  intending  to  remain 
there  and  was  assigned  to  the  command  of  the  district. 

Having  got  the  Peelers'  rifles,  O'Connor  started  for  Killarney. 
On  the  way  he  captured  without  a  fight  the  Coastguard  Station 
at  Kells,  between  Cahirciveen  and  Glenbeigh,  with  some  rifles, 
and  continued  his  march.  On  the  road  the  Insurgents  met  a 
horse  policeman  riding  from  Killarney  to  Cahirciveen  and  ordered 
him  to  halt.  He  paid  no  heed  to  the  order  and  attempted  to  ride 
on,  so  they  shot  at  him  and  he  was  severely  wounded,  but  did  not 
die.  O'Connor  found  on  him  a  captured  order  addressed  to  him, 
in  code,  changing  the  date  of  the  Rising  from  February  11  to 
March  5,  and  a  list  of  the  prominent  Fenians  in  Cahirciveen.  The 
countermand  convinced  O'Connor  of  the  futility  of  going  further. 
With  only  a  handful  of  his  men  armed  he  could  not  face  a  body  of 
regular  soldiers,  so  he  told  his  men  to  disperse  and  return  to  their 
homes.  Some  of  them,  instead  of  going  home,  took  up  a  position 
on  a  neighboring  mountain  to  await  developments.  The  develop- 
ments were  not  long  in  coming. 

General  Sir  Alfred  Horsford  (a  Scotchman) ,  who  was  in  com- 
mand in  Limerick,  was  the  most  enterprising  and  resourceful 
General  in  the  British  Army — I  might  say  the  only  one,  except, 
perhaps,  Sir  Hugh  Rose,  then  Commander  of  the  Forces  in 
Ireland.  He  commandeered  every  available  vehicle — jaunting 
cars,  gentlemen's  carriages  and  business  vans— loaded  the  sol- 
diers on  them,  and  rushed  them  to  Cahirciveen.  When  I  read  the 
reports  in  the  newspapers  given  to  me  by  a  Dublin  policeman 
named  Duff,  who  was  one  of  the  guards  placed  over  us  in  the 
waiting  room  of  the  Green  Street  Courthouse,  I  said  to  myself: 
"Horsford  does  not  know  what  I  know, — under  other  conditions 
he  could  not  rely  on  his  men  to  do  such  work".  The  Seventy- 
third  Regiment,  supposed  to  be  all  Scotch  and  wearing  plaid 
trousers  and  Glengarry  caps,  had  300  Fenians  in  its  ranks,  and 
they  were  exceptionally  good  men.  It  was  one  of  the  regiments 
sent  to  Ireland  to  replace  the  disaffected  ones  early  in  1866  and 
arrived  in  Dublin  just  before  my  arrest,  but  in  time  to  have  one  of 



our  men  from  Scotland  introduce  me  to  the  Centre  and  to  enable 
me  to  introduce  him  to  some  of  the  Dublin  men.  At  that  time 
there  were  many  Irishmen  in  the  Highland  regiments. 

Horsford  surrounded  the  mountain  on  which  O'Connor's  men 
were,  placed  his  force  in  open  order  at  the  foot  and  directed  that 
no  one  was  to  be  allowed  to  pass  through.  But  that  night  every 
one  of  the  insurgents  passed  through  in  safety  and  made  their 
way  home.  Most  of  them  when  creeping  out  through  the  ex- 
tended line,  not  knowing  that  they  had  many  friends  among  the 
soldiers,  thought  they  were  unseen.  But  the  Fenians  in  plaid 
trousers  and  Glengarry  caps  saw  them  well  enough,  and  the 
Scotchmen  shut  their  eyes.  Many  of  the  Scotchmen  were  Gaelic 
speakers,  and  Iveragh,  of  which  Cahirciveen  is  the  chief  town,  is, 
even  at  this  writing  (1928)  one  of  the  strongholds  of  the  Gael- 
tacht.  The  tie  of  a  common  language — for  Scotch  Gaelic  differs 
very  little  from  Irish  Gaelic — is  very  strong,  and  when  a  few  of 
the  Scotchmen  asked  questions  of  the  men  creeping  out,  they 
were  understood,  and  so  were  the  replies.  It  was  a  case  similar  to 
that  of  William  Putnam  McCabe  in  1798  when  he  appealed  to  his 
Highland  Scotch  escort  in  Watling  Street,  Dublin,  in  Gaelic  and 
was  allowed  to  escape. 

O'Connor's  men  knew  every  foot  of  the  country  and  had  no 
difficulty  in  making  their  way  home,  but  some  of  them  were 
arrested  later  and  three  were  convicted  on  the  evidence  of  the 
Coastguard  men.  I  knew  one  of  them  named  Moriarty  in  New 
York,  who  was  a  splendid  man. 

There  was  a  sharp  lookout  for  O'Connor,  but  he  disguised 
himself  as  a  priest,  got  to  Queenstown  and  took  a  steamer  for 
America  without  being  recognized.  He  arrived  safely,  but  died 
a  few  years  later. 

O'Connor's  short-lived  Rising  created  a  great  panic  among 
the  gentry.  They  flocked  into  Killarney,  taking  their  wives  and 
children  with  them  and  all  their  valuables  that  would  fit  in  the 
carriages.  They  poured  telegrams  into  Dublin  Castle  for  aid,  laid 
in  a  stock  of  provisions  in  the  hotel  at  the  railroad  station,  put 
sandbags  in  the  windows  and  begged  the  police  to  garrison  it 
for  their  protection.  The  aid  came  in  a  few  days.  Besides  the 
troops  from  Limerick,  trainloads  of  soldiers  were  sent  from  the 
Curragh  Camp  and  reinforcements  also  came  from  Cork.  The 
panic-stricken  landlords  made  the  Government  think  the  insur- 
rection was  on  a  much  larger  scale,  and  the  number  of  troops 
sent  was  wholly  unnecessary. 

Among  the  most  prominent  of  the  fugitive  gentry  were  the 
relatives  of  Daniel  O'Connell.  Practically  every  one  of  them  then 



in  Ireland  who  bore  his  name  was  among  them,  and  many  others 
who  were  relatives  by  marriage.  They  were  among  the  most 
clamorous  for  strong  action.  The  only  well  known  relative  who 
was  not  with  them  was  The  O'Donoghue,  who  was  a  grandnephew 
of  Daniel,  and  who  was  then  in  London.  Early  in  1866,  he  de- 
scribed the  attitude  of  the  Irish  people  as  "one  of  waiting", 
evidently  meaning  waiting  for  the  fight.  His  sympathies  were 
known  to  be  with  the  Fenians  and  he  would  have  joined  the 
organization  with  a  group  of  other  "Moderate"  Nationalists  on 
condition  that  the  system  of  governing  it  was  changed  from  a 
dictatorship  of  one  man  to  an  elective  Council,  such  as  was  later 
adopted  by  the  reorganized  I.  R.  B. 

Had  The  O'Donoghue  and  the  others  been  taken  in  at  that 
time  and  the  condition  agreed  to,  it  would  probably  have  saved 
both  Stephens  and  the  I.  R.  B.  O'Donoghue  was  a  spendthrift, 
and  was  only  relieved  of  financial  difficulties  by  marrying  the 
daughter  of  a  rich  Athlone  banker  named  Ennis,  who  was  liberally 
dowered.  But  in  the  meantime  he  had  taken  a  Government  job 
and  dropped  out  of  public  life.  It  is  hardly  possible  that  he  would 
have  done  this  if  he  had  joined  the  organization.  And  had  the 
elective  council  plan  been  adopted  the  misfortunes  which  befell 
the  movement  through  Stephens'  weakness  and  vacillation  when 
the  crisis  came  would  in  all  probability  have  been  avoided. 

As  for  The  O'Donoghue,  he  remained  popular  in  Kerry  to  the 
last,  and  to  some  extent  in  the  rest  of  Ireland.  The  Corkmen 
called  the  Kerrymen  of  that  day  "Chieftain  Hunters"  because  of 
their  personal  loyalty  to  the  "gallant  young  Chieftain  of  the 
Glens",  and  his  popularity  was  greatly  increased  by  his  chal- 
lenging Sir  Robert  Peel  to  a  duel  for  an  insulting  remark  made 
in  a  speech.  Sir  Robert  declined  to  fight  and  was  publicly  accused 
of  taking  refuge  "behind  his  wife's  petticoats".  His  wife  took 
some  part  in  the  public  controversy  which  followed  the  chal- 
lenge, but  I  don't  recall  what  seemed  to  justify  the  charge.  But 
I  do  remember  T.  D.  Sullivan's  satirical  poem,  the  refrain  of 
which  was: 

"Swaggering  Bob, 
Staggering  Bob." 

It  had  a  great  vogue  at  the  time,  and  T.  D.  also  wrote  a  sar- 
castic rhyme  on  the  mad  flight  of  the  Kerry  landlords  during 
O'Connor's  Rising.  It  was  said  for  many  years  later  that  The 
O'Donoghue  remained  a  Nationalist  by  conviction,  notwithstand- 
ing his  Government  job.  It  was  a  great  pity  that  his  financial 
difficulties  obliged  him  to  take  it,  for  he  was  a  man  of  fine  ability 
and  an  eloquent  orator. 



Dublin  Men,  Under  Patrick  Lennon  and  John  Kirwan,  Captured 
Two  Police  Barracks  After  a  Short  Fight — Few  Casualties. 

As  I  have  already  said,  I  have  no  personal  knowledge  of  the 
Rising  of  1867,  being  in  Mountjoy  Prison  at  the  time,  but  having 
heard  of  the  approximate  date  from  Edward  Duffy,  I  was  on  the 
lookout  and  anxiously  awaiting  news  of  it.  On  the  night  of 
March  5  the  challenges  of  the  sentries  as  the  rounds  were  being 
made  every  half  hour  or  so  convinced  me  that  "the  game  was  up". 
The  soldiers  belonged  to  the  Coldstream  Guards  and  they  had 
deep,  sonorous  voices — the  English  Guards  were  all  the  kind  of 
men  that  Cromwell  wanted,  with  "big  noses  and  strong  lungs" — 
and  the  quality  of  their  challenges  showed  unmistakably  that 
they  were  under  a  strain. 

I  climbed  up  to  the  cell  window,  which  only  opened  slant- 
ingly, and  found  that  rain,  sleet  and  snow  followed  each  other 
in  quick  succession,  and  I  said  to  myself  sadly:  "God  help  the 
poor  fellows  who  are  out  to-night  without  overcoats  or  warm 
clothing.  And  what  are  they  going  to  fight  with?"  With  all 
the  handicaps  which  I  knew  to  exist,  and  the  blizzard  added, 
what  kind  of  a  fight  could  the  boys  put  up? 

I  lay  awake  most  of  the  night  and  my  short  naps  were  dis- 
turbed by  fitful  dreams  of  charges  of  cavalry,  and  unarmed 
bleeding  men,  in  places  within  the  city  like  Crampton  Court, 
where  cavalry  charges  were  impossible.  In  my  waking  moments 
Michael  Scanlan's  song,  "The  Fenian  Men"  (written  to  the  air  of 
"O'Donnell  Abu")  came  to  my  mind,  and  I  contrasted  its  glow- 
ing prophecy  with  what  I  knew  must  be  the  pitiful  performance: 

"See  who  comes  over  the  red-blossomed  heather. 

Their  green  banners  kissing  the  pure  mountain  air; 
Heads  erect,  eyes  to  front,  stepping  proudly  together, 
Sure  Freedom  sits  throned  on  each  proud  spirit  there." 

And  its  chorus: 

"Out  and  make  way  for  the  bold  Fenian  men." 

Most  of  the  Fenian  poetry  written  in  America  indulged  in 
prophecy  like: 

"The  Phoenix  Zouaves 

Will  do  nothing  by  halves 
When  they  chase  the  red  foe  from  old  Ireland." 



But  in  Ireland  our  song  writers  mostly  recalled  memories  of 
'Ninety-Eight,  such  as  John  Keegan  Casey's  "Rising  of  the 

"Well  they  fought  for  poor  old  Ireland, 
And  full  bitter  was  their  fate; 
(Oh,  what  glorious  pride  and  sorrow 
Fills  the  name  of  Ninety-Eight!)" 

Next  morning  Father  Potter,  a  splendid  Irishman,  who  had 
temporarily  replaced  Father  Cody  as  Chaplain,  paid  me  a  visit 
and  told  me  that  all  Ireland  was  up  in  arms,  that  Kilmallock 
had  been  captured,  that  a  battle  was  going  on  in  Drogheda  and 
that  Cork  and  Tipperary  were  practically  all  in  the  hands  of 
the  Rebels.  These  were  the  reports  current  in  Dublin  that  day, 
but  a  couple  of  days  later  he  told  me  of  the  sad  failure — the 
debacle — at  Tallaght,  but  was  still  hopeful  of  success  in  the  rest 
of  Ireland.  Poor  Father  Potter  (a  Dublin  man)  was  one  of  the 
kindliest  souls  I  ever  met  and  a  strong  sympathizer  with  the 
Fenian  movement.  A  few  days  later  Father  Cody  came  back  and 
the  news  supply  was  shut  off. 

I  heard  no  more  about  the  Rising  until  a  young  Corkman 
named  Coughlin,  convicted  for  his  part  in  the  fight  at  Bally- 
knockane  under  James  F.  X.  O'Brien  and  "The  Little  Captain" 
(William  Mackey  Lomasney),  was  brought  into  Millbank  and 
while  working  side  by  side  at  the  pump  to  fill  the  cistern  on  the 
top  of  the  building,  told  me  the  whole  story  of  the  miserable 
failure,  and  the  treachery  of  Corydon  and  Massey. 

Later,  others  who  had  taken  part  in  the  Rising  arrived  and 
as  opportunity  offered,  told  me  what  happened  in  Cork,  Tipperary 
and  Drogheda.  With  few  exceptions  it  was  a  sad  story  of  fail- 
ure and  suffering.  Some  of  the  prisoners  had  not  been  arrested 
for  a  considerable  time  after  the  Rising  and  knew  a  lot  about 
subsequent  happenings. 

But  it  was  only  when  I  arrived  in  New  York  after  our  release 
and  deportation  that  Pat  Lennon  (who  himself  came  a  week 
later  in  the  second  batch  of  released  men)  together  with  John 
Kirwan, — both  of  whom  had  participated  at  Stepaside  and  Glen- 
cullen — called  to  see  me,  and  from  them  I  got  most,  but  not  all, 
of  the  story. 

The  reports  of  the  Dublin  Rising  in  the  Freeman's  Journal 
(published  only  on  March  7)  were  very  poorly  done  and  were 
evidently  supplied  by  the  police.  It  was  wretched  journalism. 
The  biggest  news  of  the  day  was  deemed  worthy  only  of  a  few 



short  paragraphs.  As  copied  from  the  files  of  the  Freeman 
recently  by  my  nephew,  Peter  Devoy,  here  they  are: 

(From  the  Dublin  Freeman's  Journal,  March  7,  1867.) 

It  was  reported  by  the  Railway  Officials  at  Kingsbridge 
that  the  railway  lines  had  been  torn  up  at  three  places  on 
the  main  line,  at  Holycross,  at  Knocklong,  and  near  Thurles. 
It  was  also  stated  that  Limerick  Junction,  being  a  place  of 
great  strategical  importance,  was  to  be  seized  and  made  a 
centre  of  action  for  the  Counties  Tipperary,  Limerick  and 

In  Dublin  numbers  of  men  were  observed  going  through 
the  streets  between  nine  and  ten  o'clock  last  night.  The 
general  rendezvous  appears  to  have  been  in  the  country 
about  Crumlin  and  Tallaght.  Shortly  before  ten  o'clock  last 
night  a  body  of  men  about  500  strong  was  seen  on  the  Temple 
Road  near  Palmerstown  Fields.  Information  of  these  pro- 
ceedings was  at  once  sent  to  Portobello  and  a  detachment 
of  Scots  Greys  was  immediately  sent  off.  In  addition  to 
the  Scots  Greys  a  detachment  of  the  92nd  Highlanders  was 
sent  to  Crumlin,  but  on  their  arrival  the  Fenians  had  gone 
off  in  the  direction  of  Tallaght.  A  gentleman  who  came 
from  the  Green  Hills  direction  near  Tallaght  stated  that  he 
saw  about  1,500  men  moving  towards  Kildare.  More  light 
may  be  thrown  on  the  movement  by  a  rumour  circulated  a 
few  days  ago  that  the  Insurgents  from  the  City  and  County 
Dublin  were  to  have  a  general  concentration  in  the  moun- 
tain district  between  Dublin,  Wicklow  and  Kildare. 

A  gentleman  who  came  from  Howth  early  yesterday 
morning  reports  seeing  a  body  of  over  200  men  marching  on 
the  Howth  Road. 

At  a  late  hour  last  night  [6/3/67]  a  detachment  of  the 
52nd  Regiment  and  a  squadron  of  the  12th  Lancers  with  four 
pieces  of  artillery,  occupied  Crumlin. 

Dundrum,  Bray,  Stepaside  and  Glencullen. 

The  Insurgents  met  at  Milltown  and  marched  to  Dun- 
drum.  They  assembled  in  front  of  the  police  barracks  and 
tried  to  induce  the  nine  policemen  to  come  out,  and  they 
refused.  After  some  time,  the  Insurgents  were  ordered  by 
their  officers  to  march  towards  Stepaside.  They  arrived  here 
at  about  two  in  the  morning  and  called  on  the  police  to 
surrender  in  the  name  of  the  Irish  Republic.  Constable 
Mcllwaine  and  his  four  men  refused  to  do  so.  Shots  were 
fired  on  both  sides,  and  a  quantity  of  straw  having  been 
forced  through  one  of  the  windows  into  a  room  on  the 
ground  floor  for  the  purpose  of  burning  the  house,  the  police 
offered  to  surrender  on  condition  that  the  men  would  not  be 
injured.  This  was  assented  to  and  the  police  thus  became 
prisoners  of  war,  and  they  delivered  up  the  barracks  with 
all  its  arms  and  ammunition. 

The  Insurgents  then  marched  along  the  Bray  road  as 
far  as  Old  Connaught  and  after  their  scouts  returned  it 
was  deemed  advisable  not  to  attack  Bray.  They  proceeded 
then  to  Glencullen  where  they  called  on  Constable  O'Brien 
and  his  four  men  to  surrender  in  the  name  of  the  Irish 
Republic.  He  refused  and  said  he  would  defend  the  bar- 
racks. The  order  was  then  given  for  riflemen  to  advance 
and  50  men  armed  with  rifles  came  to  the  front.  They  drew 



up  before  the  barrack  and  just  as  they  fired  into  it  the 
police  fired  out  and  wounded  two  of  the  Fenians.  They  (the 
Fenians)  then  took  cover  and  continued  firing  for  some 
time.  The  leader  of  the  Fenians  then  ordered  Constable 
Mcllwaine,  their  prisoner,  to  represent  to  Constable  O'Brien 
that  resistance  was  useless,  and  after  some  parleying  O'Brien 
agreed  to  surrender  on  condition  that  all  the  police  would  be 
set  free.  This  was  agreed  to — the  release  not  to  take  place 
for  two  hours. 

The  march  of  Patrick  Lennon's  and  John  Kirwan's  men  to 
Stepaside  and  Glencullen  and  the  capture  of  the  police  barracks 
are  fully  described  by  Captain  Harry  Filgate  in  his  letter  to  the 
Gaelic  American,  which  will  be  found  in  the  next  chapter,  so  I 
will  only  insert  here  a  brief  account  of  some  incidents  told  me  by 
Lennon  himself  and  other  participants  in  the  fighting. 

When  Lennon  ordered  his  riflemen  to  take  cover  they  took  up 
a  position  behind  a  fence  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  road,  and 
Denis  Duggan  made  for  himself  an  embrazure  through  which  he 
fired.  But  the  loop-holed  iron  shutters  protected  the  Peelers 
and  none  of  them  was  hit.  Lennon  said  that  Duggan  (who  nine 
years  later  participated  in  the  Catalpa  rescue)  had  great  nerve 
and  acted  with  the  coolness  of  a  veteran. 

On  their  way  to  Stepaside  a  boy  of  fourteen  or  fifteen  stepped 
out  of  a  house  with  a  rifle  on  his  shoulder  and  fell  into  line.  He 
proved  to  be  one  of  the  best  fighters  in  the  party,  but  Lennon 
never  learned  his  name.  When  I  told  the  incident  to  Pat  Breslin 
(the  youngest  of  the  family) ,  he  said  he  knew  him  and  gave  me 
his  name,  but  I  have  forgotten  it.  I  am  very  sorry  for  this,  as  I 
would  like  to  put  the  brave  boy  on  record.  He  was  apparently 
a  farmer's  son. 

After  the  Glencullen  barrack  had  surrendered,  Lennon  heard 
loud  talk  inside  and  fearing  that  some  of  his  men  were  going  to 
harm  the  Peelers  he  drew  his  revolver,  went  inside  and  said  to 
the  men  he  found  there:  "These  men  are  prisoners  of  war  and 
I'll  shoot  any  man  who  attempts  to  injure  or  insult  them."  The 
men  laughed  and  told  him  they  were  only  "taking  a  ride  out  of 
the  Peelers"  and  did  not  intend  to  hurt  them.  When  he  came 
outside  again  he  found  the  old  Parish  Priest  haranguing  his  men 
and  telling  them  to  go  home.  Lennon  was  a  man  of  few  words 
and  rarely  used  bad  language,  but  he  was  excited  and  stepped 
up  to  the  priest,  put  the  revolver  to  his  head  and  with  an  oath 
said:  "If  you  don't  get  out  of  here  I'll  give  you  the  contents  of 
this."  The  priest  at  once  took  the  advice  and  went  away. 

Years  afterwards  a  friend  of  Lennon  who  knew  the  story  was 
taking  a  walk  through  the  Dublin  hills  and  found  the  old  priest 



sitting  on  a  low  wall  near  the  Glencullen  church  smoking  his 
pipe,  and  asked  him  for  a  light.  He  gave  him  the  light  and  then 
said:  "Sit  down  and  have  a  chat."  Soon  the  talk  drifted  to  the 
events  of  1867  and  the  old  priest  told  him  the  story  and  said: 
"That  man  knew  his  business  and  I've  no  hard  feelings  against 
him.  If  I  didn't  do  what  I  did  Paul  Cullen  would  be  after  my 
scalp,  but  that  man  knew  his  business." 

After  being  wounded  at  Dundrum,  John  Kirwan  was  captured 
trying  to  get  into  Dublin  and  was  held  under  police  guard  in 
Madame  Stevens's  Hospital.  There  was  some  talk  of  friction  be- 
tween him  and  Lennon,  but  Lennon  (who  had  remained  in  Dublin 
after  the  Rising)  speedily  put  an  end  to  it  by  rescuing  Kirwan 
from  the  hospital  and  he  managed  to  get  safely  to  New  York.  I 
saw  the  first  meeting  between  the  two  men  in  Sweeney's  Hotel 
after  our  release  and  nothing  could  be  more  cordial.  Kirwan  was 
a  Dublin  policeman's  son,  had  been  a  sergeant  in  the  Irish 
Papal  Brigade  and  was  a  close  military  student.  He  drilled  his 
men  well  and  talked  a  good  deal  about  military  tactics.  Some 
of  the  Dublin  wags  nicknamed  him  "Me  and  Napoleon",  but 
Kirwan  never  used  the  words. 

Larry  Caulin,  the  old  Centre  of  the  district,  and  his  cousin, 
Larry  Ellis,  were  then  working  in  England  and  did  not  learn 
of  the  intended  Rising.  If  they  had  there  would  have  been  200 
stalwart  mountaineers  in  the  fighting.  Caulin  was  a  perfect  type 
of  the  Wicklow  Clansman,  tall,  straight  as  a  pike  handle,  good 
looking,  with  dark  brown  hair  and  blue-gray  eyes  and  reminded 
one  of  Samuel  Ferguson's  lines  (written  later) : 

"In  the  dark  eyelashed  eye  of  blue-gray, 

In  the  open  look,  modest  and  kind, 
In  the  face's  fine  oval  reflecting  the  play 
Of  the  sensitive  generous  mind." 

Ellis  (evidently  of  Cromwellian  descent)  was  of  a  perfect 
English  type— tall  and  very  strongly  built,  with  very  light  hair 
and  blue  eyes,  but  he  was  a  fine  Irishman,  genial  and  good- 
natured.  I  knew  both  men  very  well,  as  I  had  attended  several 
funerals  in  Glencullen  of  people  born  in  that  district  but  who 
had  lived  in  Dublin. 

The  absence  of  the  men  of  the  Dublin  hills  from  the  fighting 
at  Glencullen  was  an  illustration  of  the  confusion  caused  by  the 
repeated  postponements  of  the  fight. 

Every  farmer  and  farmer's  son  in  that  district  was  also  a 
stonecutter.  The  land  is  poor  and  rocky  and  the  grass  thin,  so 
they  could  only  keep  a  few  cows,  sheep  and  goats,  with  a  pig  or 



two  and  a  lot  of  hens,  and  went  to  Dublin  and  England  often  to 
work  at  stone  cutting,  while  the  girls  took  service  in  Dublin. 

Coming  down  from  Glencullen  towards  Dublin,  the  panorama 
that  meets  the  eye  is  one  never  to  be  forgotten;  mountain  peaks 
in  several  directions,  some  near  and  others  far  off;  the  city  itself 
beyond  the  delightful  valleys;  and  though  "My  own  sweet  Dub- 
lin Bay"  is  in  the  distance  it  seems  to  be  right  at  your  feet — a 
beautiful  expanse  of  water  on  which  the  yachts  look  like  swans. 
Gazing  on  that  vista,  how  forcibly  the  thought  fastens  on  your 
mind:  truly,  a  country  worth  fighting  for! 



Recollections  of  Capture  of  Police  Barracks  in  1867 — Perfect 
Military  Discipline  of  Insurgents — Lennon  Commanded 
After  Kirwan  Had  Been  Wounded. 

When  John  J.  Rossiter,  one  of  the  men  who  took  part  in  the 
capture  of  the  Barracks  at  Stepaside  and  Glencullen  (and  who 
was  in  later  years  very  active  in  the  Clan-na-Gael  in  New  York 
and  Newark,  N.  J.) ,  died  in  1905,  his  friend  and  mine,  Edward 
Whelan,  who  also  fought  under  Lennon,  wrote  a  sketch  of  the 
fighting  for  the  Gaelic  American.  Then  Captain  Harry  Filgate 
of  the  Irish  Volunteers  in  San  Francisco,  who  had  in  the  mean- 
time been  a  sergeant  in  the  American  Regular  Army,  wrote  a 
letter  correcting  some  errors  in  Whelan's  account.  As  no  two 
men  who  took  part  in  the  same  battle  ever  agree  on  all  the 
details,  I  prefer  to  take  the  version  of  the  man  with  ten  years' 
service  as  an  American  Regular  as  likely  to  be  the  more  accurate. 
Filgate's  letter  is  given  herewith: 

329  Harriet  Street, 
San  Francisco,  Calif., 
February  21,  1905. 

Editor  The  Gaelic  American: — A  very  interesting  morsel 
of  Fenian  history  was  that  published  in  The  Gaelic  American 
of  the  4th  inst.  from  the  pen  of  Mr.  Edward  Whelan.  Mr. 
Whelan,  in  the  biographical  sketch  of  his  old,  true  and  tried 
friend,  John  J.  Rossiter,  which  he  read  at  a  recent  meeting 
of  the  Irish  Revolutionary  Brotherhood  Veterans'  Associa- 
tion, very  neatly  and  connectedly  weaves  in  an  epitome  of 
the  salient  doings  of  the  I.  R.  B.  in  Dublin  from  1865  to 

Mr.  Whelan's  chronological  statement  of  what  trans- 
pired from  the  time  the  Irish  People  paper  was  seized  to  the 
night  of  the  Rising,  March  5,  1867,  is,  as  the  boys  active  in 
the  movement  at  the  time  knew,  quite  correct.  But  Mr. 
Whelan  is  very  brief  in  his  account  of  the  operations,  and 
entirely  at  sea  as  to  the  military  condition  of  the  contin- 
gent he  says  John  J.  Rossiter  served  with  on  that  memor- 
able night. 

This  body,  commanded  by  Captains  John  Kirwan,  Patrick 
Lennon  and  Lieutenant  Matt  Slattery,  was  well  organized, 
well  officered,  and  an  effective  military  unit.  On  the  night 
of  March  5,  1867,  the  boys  fell  into  line  in  Palmerstown 
Park,  City  of  Dublin,  like  veterans,  loaded  their  pieces  de- 
liberately, counted  off  and  broke  into  column  like  Regulars. 
An  advance  guard  was  thrown  out,  a  rear  guard  attached, 
and,  when  the  country  permitted,  flankers  deployed.  We 
could  not  at  any  time  have  been  surprised. 



Our  first  prisoners  were  taken  near  Milltown,  consisting 
of  Sergeant  Sheridan  and  three  patrolmen,  city  police.  From 
these  four  revolvers,  belts,  bayonets  and  spare  ammunition 
were  taken. 

At  Windy  Harbor  our  column  was  reinforced  by  a  strong 
detachment  of  well-armed  men,  commanded  by  Captain 
John  Kirwan.  Here  Kirwan  assumed  command  over  all. 
In  the  attack  on  Dundrum  Barrack  Kirwan  was  shot  through 
the  shoulder,  and  had  to  be  taken  away.  The  command 
again  fell  to  Lennon. 

This  barrack  being  so  near  the  city  we  deemed  it  not 
wise  to  remain.  Instead  we  pushed  on  to  Stepaside.  Upon 
nearing  this  hamlet  our  column  was  halted.  Sixteen  rifle- 
men were  detailed  to  take  the  barrack.  The  men  being 
posted,  Lennon  approached  the  door  of  the  building,  knocked 
two  or  three  times  with  the  hilt  of  his  sword.  He  was  asked 
from  within:  "Who  is  there?"  He  replied:  "I  command 
you  to  surrender  to  the  Irish  Republic."  After  a  delay  the 
answer  came,  "No."  Immediately  we  were  ordered  to  com- 
mence firing  through  the  windows  and  door.  Constable 
Mcllwaine  returned  the  fire.  We  discovered  that  the  shots 
came  from  the  second  floor.  This  enabled  some  of  us  to  get 
right  up  to  the  building,  which  we  did,  and  with  the  aid 
of  sledges  taken  from  the  village  blacksmith  shop  soon  had 
the  lower  barricaded  window  broken  in.  We  could  distinctly 
hear  the  piercing  cries  of  women  coming  from  the  building. 
We  stopped  firing  and  sledging  to  see  if  they  wanted  to  come 

Between  their  shrieks  we  could  hear  a  voice  calling: 
"Are  you  men  of  honor?"  Lennon  replied:  "Yes;  we  want 
this  barrack  and  all  the  Government  property  it  contains, 
and  will  make  prisoners  of  war  of  the  men  in  it."  "We  sur- 
render" came  back  to  us.  The  door  was  opened,  and  we  took 
possession.  In  ransacking  the  desk  we  came  across  all  sorts 
of  legal  forms,  some  made  out  and  ready  for  service.  These 
we  took  to  the  front  of  the  barrack  and  burned.  A  "Peeler" 
remarked  to  a  few  of  us  standing  by:  "This  is  awful  work 
in  a  proclaimed  district."  We  told  him  that  it  was  mild 
to  what  he  would  see  before  the  week  was  out.  Alas!  Alas! 
All  we  could  treat  them  to  was  to  see  us  lick  their  comrades 
on  Glencullen  Heights  the  next  day. 

With  our  prisoners  we  left  Stepaside  for  our  objective,  a 
place  near  Arklow,  County  Wicklow.  Upon  reaching  Old 
Connaught,  near  Bray,  we  were  halted.  Scouts  were  sent 
into  Bray  to  ascertain  how  matters  were.  They  reported  a 
strong  force.  We  expected  this  force  to  be  annihilated  by 
General  Halpin's  command  from  Tallaght.  General  Halpin's 
men  failed  to  organize  for  lack  of  arms.  The  situation  being 
fully  considered,  we  concluded  to  retrace  our  steps,  take  to 
the  Dublin  mountains,  and  destroy  all  the  police  barracks 
we  could  find. 

We  struck  Glencullen  Barrack  on  the  morning  of  the 
6th.  It  was  beautifully  situated  for  defence.  Had  the 
"Peelers"  taken  position  on  the  crest  of  the  mountain  they 
would  have  compelled  us  to  alter  our  tactics  and  delayed  us 
for  some  time.  Instead,  they  held  on  to  the  protection  of 
their  barrack.  When  we  arrived  in  the  vicinity  Lennon  halted 
us,  and  deployed  just  enough  men  to  envelop  the  building; 
the  rest,  including  the  prisoners,  were  ordered  out  of  range. 

Lennon  did  here  the  same  thing  he  had  done  several 
times  before  during  our  march.    When  ordered  to  surren- 



der  to  the  Irish  Republic  the  Peelers  refused.  We  were 
ordered  to  commence  firing.  The  Peelers  answered  in  kind, 
and  for  a  time  the  exchange  was  spirited.  Our  shots,  appar- 
ently were  doing  little  damage  beyond  breaking  glass  and 
denting  shutters.  We  soon  discovered  a  vulnerable  spot. 
A  detail  was  sent  on  the  roof.  Slates  soon  began  to  fly,  a 
hole  was  knocked  through,  and  a  dozen  men  with  revolvers 
stood  ready  to  drop  inside.  The  Peelers  discovering  the 
situation  shouted  an  unconditional  surrender.  Lennon 
asked:  "Is  there  treachery  in  this?"  "No"  came  the 
reply.  The  door  was  opened  and  our  men  took  possession. 
Our  armament  was  immensely  enriched  by  this  victory. 
Here,  again  was  displayed  the  intelligence  of  our  officers. 
Preparatory  to  the  attack  a  picket  was  sent  in  the  direction 
of  Three  Rock  Mountain  to  watch  the  approaches  from  Dub- 
lin; another  towards  the  Scalp  to  watch  the  roads  from 
Wicklow.  There  were  no  women  or  children  in  the  Glencul- 
len  barrack. 

*       *  ♦ 

Captain  Patrick  Lennon  was  scrupulously  careful  that  no 
annoyance  or  insult  should  be  given  his  prisoners.  While 
marching  up  Glencullen  Mountain,  I  noticed  a  prisoner  fall- 
ing back.  I  gently  put  the  butt  of  my  gun  to  his  back  and 
told  him  to  keep  up  with  the  rest.  Lennon  saw  me.  In  an 
instant  he  drew  a  revolver  and  threatened  to  kill  the  first 
person  he  found  insulting  or  abusing  a  prisoner. 

Lennon  was  not  a  man  to  seek  shelter  behind  a  Peeler, 
nor  did  he  want  a  man  who  would.  With  him  you  had  to 
stand  up  like  a  man  and  face  the  music. 

The  policemen  themselves,  when  they  returned  to  their 
respective  stations,  spoke  highly  of  us,  and  a  Lord  (Meath, 
I  believe)  who  owned  land  contiguous  to  the  places  we  cap- 
tured, within  a  week  after  the  Rising,  had  published  a  letter 
in  the  Freeman's  Journal,  extolling  our  conduct  towards 
our  prisoners,  and  praising  us  in  general  for  our  honor- 
able military  behavior,  adding  that  it  was  worthy  of  a 
great  cause. 

"The  Government  was  fully  aware  of  their  movements, 
and  was  everywhere  prepared  to  meet  them,"  says  Mr. 
Whelan.  I  don't  believe  it.  If  the  Government  knew  of 
Lennon's  party  we  must  charge  them  with  aiding  and  abet- 
ting Fenianism.  They  stood  by  and  allowed  us  to  destroy 
Government  property,  and  endanger  the  lives  of  their  be- 
loved Peelers.  Sir  Hugh  Rose,  commander  of  the  British 
forces  in  Ireland  at  the  time — he  who  blew  the  Sepoys  in 
India  from  the  cannon's  mouth  during  the  Mutiny — was 
aching  to  make  a  sacrifice  of  us.  Lennon's  party  gave  him 
the  chance.  He  would  have  taken  it  had  he  known  it.  If  he 
had  known  of  our  existence  he  would  most  likely  despatch  sol- 
diers to  Harcourt  Street  Railroad  Station,  and  send  them  over 
the  Wicklow  and  Wexford  Railroad  with  instructions  to  de- 
train a  company  here  and  there  between  Milltown  and 
Bray.  They  would  surely  have  bagged  us,  but  not  without 
a  fight.  It  must  have  been  most  galling  to  him  to  know, 
while  he  was  making  prisoners  of  our  men  at  Tallaght, 
that  we  were  doing  the  same  to  his  pets  on  the  other  side 
of  the  mountains. 

Another  evidence  that  they  did  not  know  about  us:  When 
our  party  disbanded  and  each  man  chose  his  own  route 
home,  I  happened,  about  4  o'clock  in  the  evening  of  the  same 
day  to  reach  a  village  two  miles  outside  Rathfarnham.  Just 


as  I  did  a  company  of  heavy  dragoons  dashed  by,  going 
in  the  direction  where  our  men  had  been.  In  ten  minutes 
they  were  followed  by  four  companies  of  infantry,  at  forced 
march  cadence.  These  were  followed  by  two  pieces  of  field 
artillery.  The  infantry  must  have  come  from  Beggar's 
Bush,  or  Ship  Street  Barracks.  Two  hours  would  have 
brought  them  to  where  I  met  them.  It  is,  therefore,  reason- 
able to  assume  the  first  information  the  Government  had 
of  Lennon's  party  must  have  been  about  1  o'clock  p.  m.  on 
the  6th. 

Henry  P.  Filgate, 
Late  "B,"  Lord  Edward  Circle  I.  R.  B. 



Police  from  Ambush  and  in  Pitch  Darkness  Poured  Volley 
into  Main  Body  of  Fenians  and  Killed  Their  Leader — Many 
Prisoners  Taken. 

There  is  much  confusion  and  conflict  of  testimony  in  the 
accounts  of  what  led  up  to  the  disaster  at  Tallaght,  County 
Dublin,  on  the  night  of  March  5,  1867,  but  all  agree  that  it  was  a 

General  W.  G.  Halpin  was  in  command  of  the  Dublin  District 
in  the  Rising,  but  he  was  several  miles  away  from  Tallaght,  with 
a  small  body  of  men,  when  the  misfortune  occurred. 

I  was  with  him  for  two  years  in  Chatham  Prison.  He  told 
me  about  being  with  the  Breslins  in  Col.  White's  demesne  (the 
Colonel  was  away  from  home) ,  that  the  men  he  expected  to 
join  him  there  did  not  turn  up  and  how  he  got  back  into  Dublin, 
but  that  was  all.  He  was  a  highly  intelligent  man  who  had 
thrown  up  a  position  which  brought  him  an  income  of  $10,000  a 
year — City  Engineer  and  County  Surveyor  of  Cincinnati — to  go 
to  Ireland  for  the  fight  and  his  sincerity  could  not  be  doubted. 
I  knew  Niall  Breslin  for  sixty  years — half  a  century  of  it  in  New 
York — and  he  agreed  with  Halpin  that  the  men  of  the  other 
Circles  did  not  turn  up.  How  they  came  to  be  marching  on 
Tallaght  under  the  leadership  of  Stephen  O'Donoghue,  a  civilian, 
neither  Halpin  nor  Breslin  explained  and  probably  did  not  know. 
All  that  we  can  ever  be  certain  of  is  that  "somebody  blundered". 

I  understood  from  Halpin  and  Breslin  that  the  men  were  to 
assemble  in  Colonel  White's  demesne  before  making  any  attack, 
but  the  actual  fact  was  that  the  main  body  of  Fenians,  several 
thousand  strong,  but  mostly  unarmed,  was  marching  along  the 
road  to  Tallaght  and  near  the  village,  on  a  pitch  dark  night, 
without  an  advance  guard  or  any  other  precaution,  when  a 
volley  from  sixty  police  rifles  was  poured  into  them,  killing 
O'Donoghue  and  wounding  several  others.  They  could  not  see 
where  the  volley  came  from,  or  anything  in  front  of  them,  so  all 
the  few  who  had  rifles  could  do  was  to  fire  straight  ahead  of 
them  in  the  direction  of  the  flashes.  As  soon  as  the  police  had 
time  to  reload  their  old-fashioned  Enfields  they  fired  again 
and  inflicted  a  few  more  casualties. 




Then  the  Fenians  did  what  all  raw  soldiers  do  under  such 
circumstances  facing  an  unseen  foe:  they  broke,  retreated  in 
confusion,  and  tried  to  make  their  way  to  Dublin  as  best  they 
could.  An  ex-British  soldier  (a  Dublin  man  whose  name  I  forget) 
told  me  in  New  York  that  he  tried  to  rally  them,  but  failed. 

The  bridges  over  the  Grand  Canal,  which  had  to  be  crossed 
to  get  into  the  city,  were  all  guarded  by  police  and  the  men  were 
all  arrested  and  marched  to  the  Upper  Castle  Yard,  where,  broken 
and  weary  after  their  terrible  night,  they  had  to  lie  on  the  wet 
ground  in  their  rain-soaked  clothes  for  many  hours.  It  was  a 
sad  ending  to  the  high  hopes  they  had  cherished  for  ten  years. 
The  disaster  was  complete. 

Those  assembled  at  the  rendezvous  with  Colonel  Halpin  num- 
bered only  fifty  or  sixty  men,  with  about  half  a  dozen  rifles,  and 
included  five  of  the  Breslin  brothers — Michael,  previously  men- 
tioned, Thomas,  who  belonged  to  the  B.  Division  (the  grenadiers 
of  the  Dublin  police) ,  Ephraim,  Niall  (the  Centre  of  the  Circle) , 
and  Patrick,  who  was  only  fifteen  years  of  age.  When  they  were 
starting  out  from  their  home  in  Rathmines  their  mother  begged 
them  to  leave  Pat  with  her,  but  he  cried  and  insisted  on  his 
right  to  go.  They  locked  him  up  in  a  room,  but  he  climbed  out 
through  a  window,  followed  his  brothers  and  overtook  them 
about  a  mile  away.  They  were  a  great  family. 

The  party  was  piloted  to  Colonel  White's  demesne  by  Michael 
Lambert,  later  President  of  the  Amnesty  Association,  who  knew 
every  foot  of  that  part  of  the  County  Dublin. 

The  men  captured  after  the  Tallaght  rout  were  all  imprisoned 
for  a  time,  but,  as  there  was  little  evidence  against  them,  none 

of  them  got  heavy  sentences. 

The  police  guards  at  the  canal  bridges  were  all  withdrawn 
in  the  belief  that  all  the  men  who  were  in  the  Rising  were  taken, 
and  this  enabled  Lennon's  men,  who  had  hung  round  the  suburbs 
till  "the  coast  was  clear"  to  get  safely  back  to  their  homes. 
Halpin  told  me  that  he  remained  playing  billiards  in  a  public 
house  in  Rathfarnham  all  day  on  March  6,  taking  sherry  and 
egg  for  nourishment,  and  got  into  the  city  in  a  cab  after  night- 
fall. He  was  arrested  several  weeks  later  trying  to  board  a 
steamer  for  America  at  Queenstown— the  old  Irish  name  of  Cobh 
had  not  then  been  restored — and  had  a  sensational  trial.  He 
knew  he  was  sure  of  conviction  and  that  it  would  be  a  waste  of 
money  (if  he  had  any)  to  engage  a  lawyer,  so  he  defended  him- 
self. He  did  not  bother  himself  about  evidence  for  the  defense, 
but  raked  the  Crown  witnesses  fore  and  aft.  He  paid  particular 
attention  to  Governor  Price  of  Kilmainham  Jail,  who  was  a  petty 



tyrant  and  a  vindictive  creature.  Halpin  nicknamed  him  "The 
Gorilla",  which  was  very  appropriate.  Price  was  a  very  low- 
sized,  but  powerfully  built  man,  with  forbidding  features,  a  long 
yellow  mustache  and  side-whiskers  and  shaggy  eyebrows.  He 
had  a  personal  hatred  for  all  the  prisoners  and  never  missed  an 
opportunity  of  inflicting  heavy  punishment. 

Tallaght  was  the  worst  misfortune  of  the  whole  Rising  and 
it  was  a  wonder  that  the  men  of  the  organization,  after  such  a 
series  of  defeats,  had  the  recuperative  power  to  reorganize  the 
movement.  Their  chagrin  over  the  failure  proved  a  strong  incen- 
tive, and  in  a  few  months  Dublin  became  once  more  the  chief 
stronghold  of  the  organization,  although  it  seemed  to  me  when 
I  arrived  in  New  York  that  every  man  I  knew  in  Dublin  was 
here.  These  refugees  from  Dublin,  Cork  and  Limerick  were  the 
backbone  of  the  Clan-na-Gael,  which  was  started  almost  simul- 
taneously with  the  reorganization  of  the  I.  R.  B.  in  Ireland  and 
Great  Britain. 

Halpin  was  sentenced  to  fifteen  years'  penal  servitude.  While 
in  Millbank  before  being  sent  to  join  the  other  "hard  cases"  in 
Chatham,  he  was  turning  the  pump  handle  one  day  and  the 
English  convict  who  was  facing  him  (an  "old  lag")  told  him  he 
knew  all  the  "Finnians".  Halpin  named  them  all  one  after  an- 
other and  the  thief  said  he  knew  them  all.  "Do  you  know 
Halpin?"  "W'y,  yes  I  know  'im  well.  'Is  Moll  rounded  on  'im." 
Halpin  told  us  the  story  with  great  gusto. 

When  we  were  released  in  1870  Halpin  refused  to  accept  the 
condition  attached  to  the  "conditional  pardon"  of  going  to 
America,  though  his  home  was  in  Cincinnati,  and  he  remained 
in  prison  for  more  than  a  year,  until  the  Government  got  tired 
of  keeping  him  and  he  was  set  free.  He  at  once  started  for 
America,  although  he  refused  to  be  compelled  to  go  there.  He 
lived  to  a  ripe  old  age  and  died  in  Cincinnati. 

Johnny  White,  one  of  my  men  in  Naas,  owing  to  some  family 
trouble,  enlisted  in  the  Fourth  Dragoon  Guards  early  in  1865, 
when  the  regiment  was  stationed  at  Ballincollig,  County  Cork. 
It  was  moved  to  Newbridge,  County  Kildare  (about  26  miles  from 
Dublin) ,  a  little  before  the  Rising,  and  White,  who  had  deserted 
and  come  to  New  York,  told  me  the  story  of  the  movements  of 
the  regiment.  The  whole  regiment,  except  about  fifty  men,  were 
Fenians,  but  notwithstanding  the  revelations  of  the  courts- 
martial,  its  officers  had  no  suspicions.  On  March  6  when  the 
men  routed  at  Tallaght  were  prisoners  in  the  Castle  Yard  the 
regiment  received  orders  to  proceed  to  Tallaght,  and  what  hap- 
pened was  a  roaring  farce.  The  men  had,  of  course,  to  provide 


oats  and  hay  for  the  horses  and  to  be  supplied  with  sandwiches 
for  themselves,  but  the  packing  of  the  officers'  baggage,  which 
included  bottles  of  wine  and  other  luxuries,  took  up  nearly  the 
whole  day.  The  order  to  march  was  received  at  ten  o'clock  in 
the  morning,  but  it  was  seven  that  evening  before  they  were 
ready  to  move  on  the  rebels, — who  were  already  prisoners.  A 
special  train  had  been  provided,  with  a  pilot  engine  ahead,  and 
the  train  moved  slowly  and  cautiously  along  as  if  an  attack  were 
expected.  After  about  two  hours  it  stopped  at  a  point  between 
Straffan  and  Celbridge,  and  the  work  of  getting  off  the  horses 
and  the  officers'  baggage  took  more  than  an  hour.  Then  they 
started  for  Tallaght  through  a  country  of  narrow  roads,  in- 
habited by  Dublin  shopkeepers  and  retired  officers  of  the  army, 
with  gardens  and  woods  on  each  side.  Cavalry  would  be  at  a 
great  disadvantage  if  attacked  there,  but  there  was  no  one  to 
make  the  attack.  But  the  soldiers  expected  one  and  White 
told  me  they  were  whispering  to  one  another:  "When  will  the 
boys  come?"  and  were  ready  to  join  them  at  the  first  shot. 
They  arrived  in  Tallaght  about  seven  o'clock  on  the  evening 
of  March  7,  nearly  two  full  days  after  the  Fenians  had  been  dis- 
persed. It  was  an  opera  bouffe  performance  and  a  choice  illus- 
tration of  the  inefficiency  of  the  British  Army.  It  was  chasing 
shadows  for  a  whole  week  after  the  Rising  had  failed. 



Fully  4,000  Men,  Mostly  Unarmed,  Turned  Out  in  the  City — 
Their  Operations  Consisted  Only  of  Attacks  on  Police  Bar- 
racks— All  Attempts,  Except  One,  Failed — "The  Little  Cap- 
tain" and  His  Merciful  Terrorism. 

"Rebel  Cork"  did  its  best  on  the  night  of  March  5,  1867,  but 
its  best,  owing  to  lack  of  arms,  amounted  only  to  attacks  on  some 
police  barracks,  all  of  which,  except  one,  failed.  I  was  told  by 
Corkmen  after  my  release,  as  well  as  by  young  Coughlin  in  Mill- 
bank,  that  4,000  men  turned  out  in  the  city,  but  they  had  less 
than  fifty  rifles  and  no  American  officer  of  rank  or  experience 
was  assigned  to  the  command,  except  Colonel  James  Moran  (then 
a  Captain) ,  who  was  put  in  charge  of  Mallow. 

At  Ballyknockane,  a  few  miles  from  the  city,  James  F.  X. 
O'Brien,  a  civilian  and  a  clever  man,  but  without  any  military 
knowledge,  was  in  command,  and  his  chief  lieutenant,  William 
Mackey  Lomasney,  had  served  as  a  private  in  the  Union  Army  in 
the  Civil  War.  Lomasney  had  considerable  military  ability,  but 
was  an  extremely  modest  man  who  never  asserted  himself  and 
he  obeyed  O'Brien's  orders  implicitly.  But  all  those  who  took  part 
in  the  fight,  with  many  of  whom  I  talked  in  New  York,  agreed 
that  the  capture  and  destruction  of  the  barrack  was  due  entirely 
to  the  work  of  "The  Little  Captain",  as  the  boys  called  him. 

Curtis's  History  of  the  Royal  Irish  Constabulary,  apparently 
written  for  the  sole  purpose  of  puffing  the  Peelers  and  giving 
them  entire  credit  for  putting  down  the  Rising,  begins  every 
account  of  a  skirmish  with  the  statement  that  "a  large  body  of 
well  armed  Fenians"  attacked  the  police  barrack  and  were  gal- 
lantly repulsed  by  the  policemen.  There  was  no  "large  body 
of  well  armed  Fenians"  anywhere  in  the  Rising  of  1867.  The 
Fenians  were  almost  wholly  without  arms  everywhere  and  the 
wonder  was  that  they  turned  out  at  all.  It  was  generally  said 
that  the  men  were  told  that  arms  would  be  distributed  after 
they  turned  out,  but  I  could  never  find  any  proof  of  this.  The 
idea  seemed  to  be  that  the  arms  captured  from  the  police  would 
enable  them  to  hold  out  until  a  shipload,  with  a  covering  force, 
was  landed  from  America.  The  shipload  was  sent,  but  arrived  off 
the  Irish  coast  too  late  to  be  of  any  use,  and  the  vessel  was 
obliged  to  return  to  America.  The  police  as  a  "reward"  for  the 



defense  of  their  barracks  in  1867,  were  thereafter  styled  the 
"Royal  Irish  Constabulary". 

A  fight  in  a  barroom,  or  the  rumor  of  a  divorce  would  get 
more  space  in  the  New  York  papers  than  the  whole  Rising  ob- 
tained in  the  leading  Dublin  journal  of  the  day,  and  the  news 
was  always  at  least  a  day  late,  the  paper  evidently  waiting  for 
the  Castle  to  supply  it.  Yet  at  that  time  several  of  the  Manag- 
ing Editors,  City  Editors  and  nearly  all  the  crack  reporters  on 
the  leading  New  York  daily  papers  were  born  Irishmen,  showing 
that  it  was  not  lack  of  journalistic  talent  in  the  race,  but  absence 
of  spirit  and  enterprise  in  the  management,  and  toadying  to  or 
fear  of  the  British  Government,  which  was  responsible  for  the 
meagre  reports.  It  was  a  demonstration  of  the  crying  need  for 
a  revolution. 

The  following  brief  paragraphs  in  the  Freeman  of  March  7, 
1867,  and  following  days,  are  all  the  paper  published  (with  the 
exception  of  a  few  lines  on  Knockadoon)  about  the  Rising  in 

"Large  numbers  of  the  Insurgents  assembled  in  a  suburb 
of  the  city  known  as  Fair  Hill  and  marched  north,  tearing 
up  the  railway  rails  at  Rathduff.  This  party  was  supposed 
to  be  marching  on  Mallow  Junction. 

"Shortly  after  two  in  the  morning  a  large  body  of  In- 
surgents attacked  the  police  barrack  at  Midleton  and  were 
repulsed.  They  then  proceeded  towards  Castlemartyr  and 
on  their  way  they  fell  in  with  a  patrol  of  four  police.  The 
constable  in  charge  was  shot  dead,  another  wounded,  and 
the  other  two  made  prisoners.  On  reaching  Castlemartyr 
they  immediately  attacked  the  police  barracks  and  were  re- 
pulsed, leaving  their  leader  dead  on  the  field. 

"The  police  station  at  Burnfort  between  Blarney  and  Mal- 
low was  sacked  and  burnt." 

And  the  paper  didn't  contain  one  word  about  Ballyknockane 

until  March  11,  doubtless  because  it  was  a  Fenian  victory  and 
the  police  didn't  want  to  give  it  out.  Immediately  following  the 
little  paragraphs  about  Cork,  the  Freeman  of  March  7,  under  the 
headline  "Precautions  at  Powerscourt"  had  the  following: 

"One  hundred  Marines  arrived  at  Powerscourt  this 
evening,  10th  March,  to  protect  the  mansion  from  a  Fenian 
invasion.  It  is  understood  that  the  force  was  granted  at 
the  special  request  of  Lord  Powerscourt." 

The  Lord  Powerscourt  of  the  day  was  very  unpopular,  but 
his  residence  was  as  safe  from  attack  as  the  beautiful  waterfall 
near  by.  Not  one  of  the  residences  of  the  gentry  was  molested 
anywhere  during  the  Rising,  though  some  lead  had  been  stolen 
from  the  roofs  to  make  bullets  in  preparation  for  it.  There  was 
absolutely  no  looting,  no  woman  was  insulted,  and  even  the  most 



notorious  "felon-setters"  were  left  unmolested.  The  nearest  ap- 
proach to  looting  was  the  commandeering  of  the  bread  from  a 
baker's  cart  in  Thurles,  and  that  was  done  in  the  name  of  the 
Irish  Republic. 

As  the  Peelers  resisted  stubbornly  at  Ballyknockane,  though 
their  fire  inflicted  but  few  casualties  as  the  Fenians  fired  from 
cover,  Lomasney  took  a  small  detachment  to  the  rear  of  the 
barrack,  smashed  a  window,  threw  in  some  lighted  straw  and 
piled  in  more  to  feed  the  flame.  This  soon  smoked  the  policemen 
out,  set  fire  to  the  building,  and  they  surrendered.  They  were 
held  prisoners  for  a  time  after  being  disarmed  until  it  was  con- 
sidered safe  to  set  them  free.  Although  the  Fenians  were  in 
strong  force,  their  lack  of  arms  made  it  impossible  to  face  regu- 
lar soldiers  and  the  spot  was  too  close  to  Cork,  where  there  was 
a  large  garrison,  to  risk  delay.  Detachments  were  sent  to  attack 
other  nearby  police  barracks,  but  the  attacks  all  failed  and 
O'Brien  decided  to  disband  his  men  and  sent  them  back  to  the 
city  while  it  was  possible  to  get  in. 

Following  is  the  report  in  the  Freeman  of  March  11  of  the 
Ballyknockane  fight  on  March  5: 

"Ballyknockane,  Mallow. 

"A  party  of  Fenians  marched  out  from  Cork  to  Bally- 
knockane, which  is  six  miles  from  Mallow.  There  were  five 
policemen  in  the  barrack  and  when  summoned  to  surren- 
der they  refused.  A  volley  was  fired  at  the  windows  and  the 
police  replied,  wounding  one  man.  The  Insurgents  then 
forced  the  back  door  and  set  fire  to  the  place,  and  com- 
pelled the  police  to  come  out  and  their  arms  were  taken  from 

William  N.  Penny  (a  Protestant) ,  who  was  for  many  years 
Editor  of  the  New  York  Daily  News,  was  at  that  time  foreman- 
printer  of  the  Cork  Southern  Reporter,  a  bigoted  Tory  organ, 
and  he  told  me  that  the  compositors,  one  after  another,  came  to 
him  on  March  5  and  asked  for  a  day  off  on  various  pretexts.  One 
had  a  sister  who  was  getting  married,  another  wanted  to  attend 
his  aunt's  funeral,  another's  father  was  sick,  and  so  on.  Penny 
lived  north  of  the  city  and  as  he  was  going  home  very  late  that 
night  he  was  halted  and  questioned  by  detachments  of  soldiers, 
but  when  he  told  them  he  was  employed  by  a  staunch  Loyalist 
paper  he  was  allowed  to  go  his  way.  Late  next  day  he  learned  of 
the  capture  and  burning  of  Ballyknockane  police  barrack  and 
that  accounted  for  all  the  weddings  and  funerals.  The  proprietor 
of  the  paper,  a  stern  old  Tory,  was  in  a  furious  temper  and 
ordered  him  to  "discharge  every  one  of  the  damned  blackguards" 
and  Penny  told  him  he  would.  Next  day  the  printers  began  drop- 
ping in,  looking  tired  and  sleepy,  and  Penny  asked  them  with  a 



wink  if  the  weddings  and  funerals  had  come  off  satisfactorily  and 
they  all  answered  in  the  affirmative.  He  told  them  of  his  orders, 
warned  them  to  be  very  careful,  and  told  them  they  must  all 
take  new  names.  He  put  "every  one  of  the  damned  black- 
guards" back  to  work  and  the  bigoted  old  proprietor  knew  noth- 
ing of  the  trick. 

Penny  was  a  member  of  the  Reception  Committee  which  wel- 
comed Parnell  and  John  Dillon  to  New  York,  was  an  active 
member  of  the  Land  League  and  later  joined  the  Clan-na-Gael, 
of  which  he  was  a  member  when  he  died  some  years  ago.  He 
was  one  of  the  founders  of  the  New  York  Press  Club  and  his 
funeral  was  very  largely  attended.  There  were  prominent  news- 
paper men,  politicians,  business  men,  Masons,  Clan  men,  actors 
and  literary  men  there,  in  great  numbers,  and  two  or  three  old 
Cork  printers  who  were  in  the  Rising  of  1867. 

In  Mallow  only  six  men  turned  out,  including  a  brother  of 
William  O'Brien,  whom  he  erroneously,  in  his  Recollections, 
places  with  the  party  that  attacked  Ballyknockane.  Colonel 
Moran  assured  me  he  was  with  him.  This  group  being  so  small, 
Moran  hoping  to  meet  another  contingent,  proceeded  to  Kanturk, 
where  they  put  up  at  Johnson's  Hotel.  Johnson  was  an  English- 
man married  to  an  Irishwoman  and  had  been  a  long  time  in 
Ireland.  He  went  into  Cork  on  his  jaunting  car  the  next  day  and 
brought  back  the  news  of  the  failure  of  the  Rising  everywhere, 
and  later  facilitated  Moran's  escape  to  America.  His  son  was 
later  a  member  of  the  reorganized  I.  R.  B.  and  prominent  in  the 
Amnesty  movement.  The  old  man  was  one  instance  among  many 
of  Englishmen  settled  in  Ireland  rendering  service  to  the  National 

Captain  Moran  joined  the  Rhode  Island  Volunteers  in  August 
1861;  he  saw  nearly  two  years'  service  in  the  Civil  War;  had  com- 
mands at  Fort  Armory  and  Hatteras  Inlet,  N.  C,  and  later  at 
Forts  Foster  and  Parke,  at  Roanoke  Island.  But  what  could  an 
able  officer  like  him  accomplish  under  the  conditions  at  Mallow 
in  1867?  After  returning  to  America,  he  continued  his  military 
activities  and  was  Colonel  of  the  2d  Regt.  Infantry  (Rhode 
Island)  from  1887  to  1898  when  he  resigned. 

William  Mackey  Lomasney  was  one  of  the  most  remarkable 
men  of  the  Fenian  movement.  A  small  man  of  slender  build, 
who  spoke  with  a  lisp,  modest  and  retiring  in  manner,  one  who 
did  not  know  him  well  would  never  take  him  for  a  desperate 
man,  but  no  man  in  the  Fenian  movement  ever  did  more  des- 
perate things.   He  was  better  known  in  Cork  for  his  raids  for 



arms  in  Allport's  gunshop  and  other  places  after  the  Rising,  than 
for  the  part  he  played  at  Ballyknockane.  They  were  done  in 
broad  daylight  and  he  showed  great  coolness  and  daring.  When 
he  was  arrested  he  shot  the  Peeler  who  had  seized  him.  The 
Peeler,  although  severely  wounded,  did  not  die  and  Lomasney  was 
tried  for  attempted  murder.  Judge  O'Hagan,  who  had  been  a 
Young  Irelander  and  later  became  Lord  Chancellor  of  Ireland, 
was  the  trial  judge  and  undertook  to  lecture  him  on  the  enor- 
mity of  his  crime,  but  Lomasney  turned  the  tables  on  him  by  re- 
minding him  that  he  was  himself  once  a  Rebel  and  that  he 
(Lomasney)  was  only  following  the  example  O'Hagan  had  set 
in  1848. 

The  Peeler,  a  big,  powerful  man,  had  knocked  Lomasney  down 
and  had  him  under  him  while  they  were  struggling  for  posses- 
sion of  Lomasney's  revolver.  It  went  off  in  the  struggle  and 
Lomasney  had  no  intention  of  killing  him.  O'Hagan  was  stung 
by  Lomasney's  sharp  rebuke  and  imposed  a  sentence  of  fifteen 
years'  penal  servitude,  for  which  he  was  severely  censured  by 
even  the  English  and  the  Tory  Irish  papers.  Lomasney  took  the 
sentence  calmly,  although  he  had  only  recently  been  married. 
It  was  in  Millbank  Prison  that  I  first  met  him,  and  we  became 
fast  friends. 

In  America,  years  later,  when  the  dynamite  warfare  was  on 
foot,  he  was  warned  by  the  "Triangle"  that  I  was  a  "traitor" 
and  he  must  not  have  anything  to  do  with  me,  but  he  told  Aleck 
Sullivan  that  I  was  an  honest  man  with  a  right  to  my  opinions 
and  that  he  would  not  obey  any  order  to  treat  me  as  a  man 
disloyal  to  Ireland.  Sullivan  needed  Lomasney  to  hold  his  grip 
on  the  Executive  of  the  organization,  which  he  controlled,  so  he 
let  the  matter  drop. 

Lomasney  then  explained  his  policy  and  methods  to  me,  and 
they  were  entirely  different  from  those  of  the  "Triangle".  He 
wanted  simply  to  strike  terror  into  the  Government  and  the 
governing  class  and  "would  not  hurt  the  hair  of  an  English- 
man's head"  except  in  fair  fight.  We  then  discussed  the  policy 
fully  and  I  told  him  the  most  he  could  expect  through  Terrorism 
was  to  wring  some  small  concessions  from  the  English  which 
could  be  taken  back  at  any  time  when  the  Government's  counter- 
policy  of  Terrorism  achieved  some  success.  Lomasney  admitted 
this,  but  contended  that  the  counter-Terrorism  would  not  suc- 
ceed; that  the  Irish  were  a  fighting  race  who  had  through  the 
long  centuries  never  submitted  to  coercion;  that  their  fighting 
spirit  would  be  aroused  by  the  struggle;  that  the  sympathy  of 
the  world  would  eventually  be  won  for  Ireland,  and  that  England 



could  not  afford  to  take  back  the  concessions,  which  could  be 
used  to  wring  others,  and  that  in  the  end  Ireland  would  win  her 
full  Freedom. 

I  freely  admitted  that  if  honestly  carried  out  on  his  lines  the 
policy  of  Terrorism  might  succeed,  but  that  I  utterly  disbelieved 
in  the  sincerity  of  those  men  who  were  directing  it;  that  they 
were  only  carrying  on  a  game  of  American  politics,  using  the  bit- 
ter feeling  of  Irishmen  here  to  obtain  control  of  the  organization 
and  turn  it  into  an  American  political  machine  to  achieve  per- 
sonal purposes.  I  pleaded  for  a  broader  policy  that  would  win 
the  intellect  of  the  Irish  at  home  and  abroad  and  make  the  race 
a  formidable  factor  in  the  counsels  of  the  world,  and  an  ally 
worth  dealing  with  in  England's  next  big  war.  I  further  pointed 
out  to  him  that  the  temper  of  the  race  would  upset  all  his  ideas 
about  "not  hurting  the  hair  of  an  Englishman's  head";  that 
once  their  blood  was  up  the  honest  fighting  men  who  would 
have  to  carry  on  the  work  would  kill  all  the  Englishmen  they 
could  and  that  England,  having  the  ear  of  the  world  and  control 
of  all  the  agencies  of  news  supply,  would  see  to  it  that  the  world 
was  duly  shocked. 

I  wasted  my  time  and  made  no  impression  whatever  upon 
him.  He  was  as  cool  and  calm  during  the  argument  as  if  we  were 
discussing  the  most  ordinary  subject  and,  while  his  manner  was 
animated,  there  was  not  the  slightest  trace  of  heat  or  passion 
in  it.  He  even  denied  the  right  of  the  Home  Organization  to 
decide  the  policy  for  the  whole  race  when  I  told  him  the  Supreme 
Council  was  as  firm  as  the  Rock  of  Cashel  against  anything 
being  done  within  its  jurisdiction  of  which  it  did  not  fully  ap- 
prove. He  was  a  fanatic  of  the  deepest  dye,  and  all  the  harder 
to  argue  with  because  he  never  got  heated  or  lost  his  temper. 

Such  was  the  man  who  was  blown  to  atoms  under  London 
Bridge  with  his  brother,  his  brother-in-law  and  a  splendid  man 
named  Fleming,  a  short  time  after  my  talk  with  him.  The 
explosion  only  slightly  damaged  one  of  the  arches,  and  I  have 
always  believed  that  this  was  all  he  intended  to  do.  He  was,  in 
my  opinion,  carrying  out  his  policy  of  frightening  the  English 
Government  and  England's  Ruling  Class.  And  that  it  did  frighten 
them,  as  all  the  other  dynamite  operations  did,  there  can  be  no 
reason  to  doubt. 



Coastguard  Station  Captured  Without  Firing  a  Shot — Peter 
O'Neill  Crowley's  Tragic  Death  in  a  Running  Fight  With 
British  Soldiers — Honored  as  a  Martyr. 

The  capture  of  the  Coastguard  Station  at  Knockadoon,  some 
ten  miles  from  Youghal,  County  Cork,  by  Captain  John  McClure 
and  Peter  O'Neill  Crowley,  on  the  night  of  March  5,  1867,  was  the 
neatest  job  done  by  the  Fenians  in  the  Rising.  It  was  taken  by 
a  well  planned  surprise,  without  the  firing  of  a  single  shot  or  the 
shedding  of  one  drop  of  blood,  the  ten  Coastguards  were  made 
prisoners  and  their  rifles  appropriated.  But  it  was  followed  by 
the  tragic  death  of  O'Neill  Crowley  on  March  31  at  Kilclooney 
Wood,  in  a  desperate  fight  with  British  soldiers.  The  great  out- 
pouring of  the  people  at  the  funeral  was  a  demonstration  of  sym- 
pathy which  the  English  Government  could  not  well  suppress, 
and  aroused  Nationalists  throughout  Ireland. 

Captain  P.  J.  Condon,  who  had  served  in  the  Civil  War  in  one 
of  the  regiments  of  Meagher's  Brigade,  a  native  of  Cork  and  a 
very  capable  officer,  was  assigned  to  command  of  the  Midleton 
district,  but  was  arrested  the  day  before  the  Rising.  James 
Sullivan,  the  Centre  of  the  town,  and  several  others  were  also 
arrested.  That  disarranged  the  general  plan  and  broke  the  con- 
nections, so  that  several  contingents  did  not  turn  out.  Sullivan 
had  previously  been  several  months  in  Mountjoy  Prison,  where  I 
met  him,  and  his  movements  were  closely  watched  after  his 
release  on  bail.   Condon's  arrest  was  a  severe  blow. 

Condon  was  McClure's  brother-in-law,  and  they  had  come 
from  America  together.  O'Neill  Crowley,  a  prosperous  farmer, 
about  thirty-five  years  old,  was  the  Centre  of  the  Ballymacoda 
district.  He  was  a  very  popular  man,  and  had  great  influence 
with  the  people.  His  Circle  numbered  a  hundred  men,  and  every 
one  of  them  turned  out.  McClure  told  me  they  were  a  fine  lot 
of  fellows,  but  at  the  outset  they  had  only  one  rifle  (Crowley's 
own) ,  a  few  old  shotguns,  and  McClure's  Colt's  revolver.  There 
were  a  few  pikes,  and  some  of  the  men  had  sharpened  rasps, 
fastened  to  rake  handles  with  waxed  hemp.  With  that  paltry 
armament  very  little  could  be  expected  of  them,  but  they  did  a 
very  creditable  piece  of  work. 




On  three  sides  of  the  Coastguard  Station  there  was  a  sort  of 
platform  made  of  planks,  and  on  the  one  in  front  a  sentry  paced 
up  and  down.  The  blizzard  which  played  a  disastrous  part  later 
that  night  had  not  yet  started. 

After  carefully  examining  the  surroundings,  Crowley's  men 
took  up  a  position  in  the  rear  of  the  station  and  McClure  and 
Crowley  crept  silently  along  the  planks  on  one  of  the  dark  sides, 
stood  up  close  to  the  front  and  waited.  When  the  sentry  reached 
the  corner  McClure  gripped  him  by  the  collar  of  his  coat,  put 
the  revolver  to  his  breast,  and  whispered  to  him  that  if  he  said 
a  word  he  would  shoot.  They  then  took  his  rifle  and  went  to 
the  door,  which  was  not  locked,  the  men  following  silently, 
opened  it  and  went  in  quietly.  The  Coastguards  were  all  lying 
down  and  most  of  them  were  asleep.  The  arms  rack  was  beside 
the  door  and  the  rifles  were  secured  at  once.  The  Coastguards 
were  made  prisoners  and  marched  toward  Mogeely,  a  station  on 
the  Youghal  Railway  ten  or  twelve  miles  away,  where  they  were 
set  at  liberty. 

McClure's  orders  were  to  move  to  a  spot  near  the  railroad  to 
Youghal,  and  wait  for  detachments  from  other  points  to  arrive. 
But  none  came.  The  first  train  from  Cork  was  to  have  been 
stopped,  but  after  waiting  in  a  small  wood  on  the  top  of  a  hillock, 
the  first  sight  that  greeted  their  eyes  about  dawn  was  the  Cork 
train  moving  slowly  along.  It  stopped  and  a  Flying  Column  of 
English  soldiers  and  Peelers,  numbering  250  men,  got  out  and 
headed  in  their  direction.  The  Fenians  were  hidden  by  the  trees, 
but  twenty  minutes  would  bring  the  Flying  Column  to  the  spot. 
McClure  and  Crowley  held  a  hurried  consultation  and  decided  to 
disperse  the  men  except  the  ten  who  had  rifles.  Every  one  of  the 
unarmed  men  before  leaving  told  McClure  that  as  soon  as  he 
could  get  rifles  for  them  they  would  join  him  again,  and  all 
started  for  their  homes.  Not  one  of  them  was  arrested. 

The  twelve  men  then  started  for  a  spot  which  Crowley  knew 
as  a  good  hiding  place.  It  was  a  hill  with  a  plateau  surrounded 
by  trees  at  the  top.  After  placing  sentries  on  watch  they  lay 
down  and  had  a  good  sleep.  It  was  a  lonely  section  of  country 
with  no  houses  within  miles,  and  they  remained  there  in  perfect 
safety  for  ten  or  twelve  days,  and  in  the  meantime  were  joined 
by  Edward  Kelly,  a  New  York  printer,  who  had  come  over  for 
the  fight  a  year  previously.  He  had  been  with  another  party 
which  failed,  and  he  had  a  rifle.  Later  they  were  joined  by  a 
brother  of  John  Boyle  O'Reilly,  another  printer,  who  had  had  a 
similar  experience  to  Kelly's.  Crowley,  disguised,  went  into  Cork 
to  get  the  news,  and  got  back  safely.  McClure  fully  expected 
an  expedition  from  America,  but  when  Crowley  brought  the  news 



it  was  that  the  Rising  had  failed  everywhere  and  there  was 
nothing  about  an  expedition  from  America.  Yet,  they  resolved 
to  remain  there  till  something  would  turn  up.  They  were  very 
comfortable  in  a  dilapidated  old  house,  and  were  living  on  the 
fat  of  the  land.  They  had  plenty  of  chicken  and  game,  and  one 
of  Crowley's  men  secured  some  cooking  utensils  from  a  family 
he  knew  some  distance  away. 

One  morning  early  their  sentry  reported  that  he  saw  what  he 
thought  to  be  redcoats  in  the  distance.  The  hill  they  were  on 
commanded  a  view  of  the  surrounding  country  for  many  miles, 
and  in  a  few  minutes  they  saw  three  Flying  Columns,  composed 
of  Military  and  Constabularymen,  converging  on  their  little  camp. 
It  would  be  madness  to  think  of  fighting  several  hundred  soldiers 
and  Peelers  with  a  dozen  men,  so  McClure  told  the  boys  to  dis- 
perse and  make  their  way  home.  As  they  knew  the  country  very 
well,  they  all  managed  to  reach  their  homes  in  safety.  O'Reilly, 
who  didn't  know  the  country,  got  away  safely  also,  and  was  not 
arrested.  I  don't  know  whether  the  rifles  were  saved  or  not. 

McClure,  Crowley  and  Kelly  started  for  Kilclooney  Wood,  but 
after  walking  a  few  miles  Kelly's  feet  gave  out,  and  they  had  to 
leave  him  lying  at  the  back  of  a  ditch.  He  was  arrested,  tried, 
and  convicted,  and  remained  in  prison  for  several  years.  He 
died  in  Boston  many  years  ago,  and,  as  he  was  a  Protestant,  was 
buried  in  Mount  Hope  Cemetery,  in  the  Roxbury  district  of 
Boston,  where  John  Boyle  O'Reilly  erected  a  monument  in  the 
form  of  a  round  tower  to  his  memory.  The  stone  of  which  the 
monument  is  built  was  brought  from  Ireland. 

Crowley  and  McClure  reached  Kilclooney  Wood,  but  were  soon 
confronted  by  a  soldier,  who  shouted  to  them  to  halt  and  give 
the  countersign.  Crowley  levelled  his  rifle  and  fired  at  him, 
saying:  "There's  the  countersign  for  you."  The  bullet  did  not 
hit  the  soldier  and  they  were  fired  on  from  several  points  at 
once.  The  wood  was  filled  with  soldiers,  evidently  searching  for 
them.  The  two  men  turned  in  other  directions  several  times, 
but  every  time  they  turned  they  found  soldiers  in  front  of  them, 
not  in  military  formation,  but  scattered  singly.  Every  soldier 
who  saw  them  fired,  and  at  last  Crowley  was  hit  and  severely 
wounded.  Evidently  several  bullets  struck  him,  but  not  one  hit 

They  could  have  escaped  the  bullets  in  the  beginning  of  the 
running  fight  by  surrendering,  but  neither  had  the  slightest 
thought  of  doing  so.  Shortly  after  Crowley  was  hit  they  reached 
the  edge  of  the  wood  where  they  attempted  to  cross  the 
Ahaphooca  stream  which  skirted  it.  Crowley  was  weak  from 
loss  of  blood,  and  in  the  stream  McClure  had  to  put  his  left  arm 


around  him,  as  his  legs  were  fast  weakening.  He  was  six  feet 
two  in  height,  broad-shouldered,  deep-chested,  and  very  power- 
fully built,  and  in  his  efforts  to  hold  him  up  McClure,  who  was 
only  five  feet  seven,  but  strongly  built,  had  to  stoop,  so  that  the 
revolver  in  his  right  hand  dipped  into  the  water  and  the  old- 
fashioned  paper  cartridges  with  which  it  was  loaded  got  wet. 
But  McClure,  in  his  excitement,  didn't  know  it.  Soldiers  and 
policemen  came  running  up  on  the  outer  bank  of  the  stream, 
with  a  magistrate  at  their  head,  and  the  magistrate,  who  wore 
top  boots,  stepped  into  the  water  and  called  on  McClure  to  sur- 
render. McClure  pointed  his  revolver  at  him  and  pulled  the 
trigger,  but,  of  course,  it  didn't  go  off,  because  the  ammunition 
was  wet.  He  was  speedily  overpowered  and  dragged  up  on  the 
bank.  Crowley  was  lifted  up  and  placed  lying  on  the  bank,  and  it 
was  at  once  seen  that  his  wounds  were  mortal. 

The  English  forces  were  accompanied  by  Mr.  Redmond,  Resi- 
dent Magistrate,  who  was  a  retired  Captain  of  the  British  army 
and  an  uncle  of  John  Redmond. 

Dr.  Segrave,  the  military  surgeon,  on  examining  Crowley, 
found  that  he  could  live  but  a  short  time.  "Can  I  do  anything 
for  you?"  asked  Segrave.  Crowley  requested  to  see  a  priest,  and 
mounted-constable  Merryman  was  hastily  despatched  to  Bally- 
gibbon.  He  was  fortunate  enough  to  meet  Father  T.  O'Connell, 
the  curate  of  Kildorrery,  as  he  was  proceeding  to  his  church  to 
celebrate  Mass. 

In  a  letter  written  twenty  years  later,  under  date  of  April  5, 
1887,  to  a  local  newspaper  (the  clipping  from  which  reached  me 
in  July,  1928),  Father  O'Connell  wrote: 

"On  my  arrival  at  Kilclooney  Wood  I  found  Dr.  Segrave, 
surgeon  to  the  flying  column,  busily  engaged  staunching  the 
fatal  wound  with  one  hand,  whilst  from  a  prayer  book  in 
the  other  he  read  aloud  at  the  young  man's  request,  the 
litany  of  the  Holy  Name  of  Jesus.  I  was  deeply  touched  by 
the  scene,  and  especially  by  the  exclamation  'Thank  God,  all 
is  right  now',  and  then  turning  to  the  doctor,  he  said  'Thank 
you  very  much,  the  priest  is  come;  leave  me  to  him'.  I  saw 
at  once  the  critical  condition  of  the  heroic  soul  whose  life- 
blood  was  ebbing  fast  away.  It  was  clear  there  was  no  time 
to  waste;  and  having  made  him  as  comfortable  as  circum- 
stances would  permit,  by  means  of  the  soldiers'  knapsacks, 
I  then,  surrounded  by  the  military  and  police,  administered 
the  last  sacraments." 

The  prayer  book  from  which  Dr.  Segrave  read  was  found  in 
one  of  Crowley's  pockets. 

Crowley's  dying  words  as  quoted  by  Father  O'Connell  were: 

"Father  I  have  two  loves  in  my  heart— one  for  my  reli- 
gion, the  other  for  my  country.  I  am  dying  to-day  for 
Fatherland.  I  could  die  as  cheerfully  for  the  Faith." 



An  account  of  the  Kilclooney  fight  which  I  published  in  the 
Gaelic  American  in  1904,  confirms  the  foregoing.  Crowley  died 
while  being  conveyed  to  Mitchelstown. 

There  is  one  passage  in  Father  O'Connell's  letter  to  which  I 
take  exception.  It  reads: 

"To  hold  him  up  as  a  contumacious  Fenian  would  not  be 
fair,  for  he  had  died  long  before  Fenians  as  an  oath-bound 
and  secret  society  were  formally  condemned  by  the  Church. 
I  write  from  thorough  conviction  when  I  say  that  Peter 
O'Neill  Crowley  under  no  circumstances  would  willingly  be- 
come a  disobedient  child  of  the  Church." 

His  implication  that  Crowley  would  not  have  participated  in 
the  '67  Rising  if  the  Pope's  condemnation  of  Fenianism  had  been 
issued  sooner,  has  no  justification  whatever.  The  Papal  Rescript 
condemning  the  movement  was  issued  more  than  two  years 
before  the  Rising  and  Crowley,  as  a  reader  of  the  Irish  People, 
knew  all  about  it,  though  it  was  not  promulgated  in  the  Diocese 
of  Cloyne. 

Crowley's  body  was  given  up  to  his  family  by  Redmond,  and 
he  was  given  a  great  funeral.  He  was  buried  at  Ballymacoda, 
where  there  is  a  monument  to  his  memory.  All  Cork  seemed  to 
be  there.  People  flocked  to  the  wake  and  funeral  from  all  parts 
of  the  biggest  county  in  Ireland,  and  it  was  an  imposing  Nation- 
alist demonstration. 

O'Neill  Crowley  was  honored  as  a  martyr,  and  his  name  is 
still  revered  by  Irish  Nationalists  everywhere.  Cork  is  particu- 
larly proud  of  him.  Many  people  wanted  the  name  of  Kilclooney 
Wood  changed  to  Kilcrowley  Wood.  Some  of  them  continued  to 
call  it  by  that  name  for  many  years,  and  pilgrimages  were  made 
to  it  on  March  5  by  the  reorganized  I.  R.  B. 

Peter  O'Neill  Crowley  was  one  of  the  best  men  in  the  Fenian 
movement,  and  Ireland  never  gave  birth  to  a  truer  or  more  de- 
voted son.  His  devotion  to  the  cause  of  Irish  Liberty  was  sublime, 
and  his  courage  was  dauntless.  He  led  a  pure  life,  was  a  kindly 
neighbor,  and  had  the  respect  of  all  who  knew  him.  I  knew  a 
cousin  of  his  in  New  York  named  O'Neill,  who  was  one  of  the 
party  that  captured  Knockadoon,  and  who  joined  the  Napper 
Tandy  Club  of  the  Clan-na-Gael  soon  after  landing.  He  returned 
to  Ireland  and  died  there.  I  also  knew  some  other  men  of  the 

O'Neill  Crowley  was  a  deeply  religious  man.  He  had  taken  a 
vow  of  celibacy,  McClure  told  me.  Father  O'Neill,  an  uncle  of 
his,  was  flogged  by  the  Yeomen  in  1798.  John  Cullinane,  one 
of  the  attacking  party,  was  in  New  York  when  we  landed,  and 



often  came  to  see  McClure,  whom  he  worshipped.  Cullinane 
died  at  home  in  Ireland  at  eighty-eight  years  of  age,  in  April, 
1928,  and  his  imposing  funeral  was  a  fitting  tribute  to  the  old 

McClure  and  I  were  close  friends  in  Chatham  Prison,  where 
the  two  of  us  were  brought  together  from  Millbank  in  1869,  and 
he  told  me  the  whole  story.  His  account  of  the  incidents  after 
the  surrender  at  Kilclooney  differs  in  a  few  details  from  other 
versions,  but  that  can  easily  be  accounted  for  by  the  fact  that 
he  was  a  prisoner  at  the  time  and  could  not  see  and  hear  every- 
thing that  then  transpired. 

An  officer  of  the  New  York  Clan-na-Gael  (President  of  the  old 
Sarsfield  Club)  named  Anthony  Fitzgerald,  went  home  to  Cappo- 
quin,  County  Waterford  (his  native  town) ,  in  the  mid-'Seventies, 
and  frequently  met  Resident  Magistrate  Redmond  there,  and 
they  often  went  over  the  story  of  Kilclooney  Wood.  Redmond 
said  of  McClure,  with  every  evidence  of  admiration:  "He  was 
the  pluckiest  devil  I  ever  saw."  McClure  thought  he  would  be 
hanged  and  preferred  to  die  fighting.  He  was  sentenced  to  death, 
but  was  reprieved  and  the  sentence  changed  to  penal  servitude 
for  life.  He  was  released  with  the  rest  of  us  in  1870,  and  came 
to  New  York  with  the  first  batch  of  five  in  January,  1871. 

John  McClure  was  born  in  Dobbs  Ferry,  a  few  miles  up  the 
Hudson  from  New  York,  of  a  Tipperary  mother  and  a  Limerick 
father.  When  the  Civil  War  broke  out  he  was  too  young  to  be 
accepted  as  a  recruit,  but  later  enlisted  as  a  private  in  a  New 
York  cavalry  regiment,  and  served  during  the  last  two  years  of 
the  war.  He  was  in  none  of  the  big  battles  because  his  regiment 
was  operating  in  the  Blue  Ridge  of  Virginia  against  Mosby's 
Guerillas,  but  was  in  numerous  small  fights.  Patrick  Lennon, 
who  led  the  Fenians  at  Stepaside  and  Glencullen,  was  engaged  in 
the  same  work  at  the  same  time,  but  they  never  met  until  after 
their  release  from  prison. 

McClure  was  rapidly  promoted  and  was  made  a  Lieutenant 
for  gallantry  in  action  at  the  age  of  twenty.  He  was  only  twenty- 
two  in  the  Rising.  He  married  Miss  Mary  Flanagan,  whom  he 
met  at  the  house  of  Thomas  Francis  Bourke's  mother,  a  couple 
of  years  after  his  return  to  New  York.  He  had  two  brothers,  the 
eldest,  William  J.,  being  a  priest,  who  published  a  volume  of 
poetry,  and  the  youngest,  David,  was  a  lawyer,  who  became 
prominent  at  the  New  York  Bar.  John  was  Chief  Clerk  in 
David's  law  office.   All  the  McClures  are  dead  at  this  writing. 



Turnout  Covered  a  Large  Area  and  the  Men  Generally  Responied 
to  Call,  but  had  no  Supply  of  Arms  and  were  Unable  to  Ac- 
complish Anything — Pathetic  Thurles  Incident — Michael 
O'Neill  Fogarty  of  Kilfeacle  a  Splendid  Figure. 

The  Rising  in  Tipperary,  as  in  other  parts  of  Ireland,  was  a 
failure  through  lack  of  arms.  The  men  responded  generally  to 
the  call  and  if  properly  armed  would  undoubtedly  have  given 
a  good  account  of  themselves,  but  soldiers  and  armed  policemen 
cannot  be  fought  with  bare  fists  and  the  gallant  "Tips"  had  little 
else.  They  had  not  in  the  whole  county  enough  rifles  to  face  a 
company  of  soldiers  or  fifty  Peelers,  and  must  have  wondered 
what  they  were  expected  to  do.  All  that  was  possible  was  to 
make  a  demonstration  against  the  Government  and  that  they 

The  Freeman  report  on  March  7  says  that  Colonel  Gleason 
(presumably  "big  Jack",  the  brother  of  the  future  Mayor  of  Long 
Island  City)  was  in  command  in  Tipperary,  but  he  was  not;  and 
he  was  not  a  competent  officer.  He  was  a  giant  in  stature  (6  feet 
7) ,  had  served  through  the  Civil  War  without  any  particular 
distinction,  and  was  one  of  the  first  to  volunteer  to  go  to  Ireland 
for  the  fight  in  1865. 

His  brother  Joseph,  who  had  a  good  fighting  record  in  the 
Civil  War,  acted  very  badly  in  Ireland.  Like  his  brother,  he  had 
gone  over  for  the  fight  and  in  the  Rising  was  assigned  to  the 
command  of  Thurles,  but  he  didn't  turn  up  on  March  5  and 
never  gave  any  reason  for  his  action.  Of  course,  as  a  trained 
soldier,  he  knew  the  Fenians  had  no  chance,  but  he  accepted  the 
command  and  then  failed  at  the  last  moment.  The  Gleasons 
were  Tipperary  men. 

The  Centre  of  the  Thurles  District,  a  simple  young  fellow 
named  Sheehy,  from  whom  I  got  the  story  in  Portland  Prison, 
turned  out  four  hundred  men,  who  were  well  drilled,  so  far  as 
marching  and  keeping  step  were  concerned,  but  without  a  com- 
petent officer  they  were  at  a  great  disadvantage.  They  had 
twenty  smooth-bore  muskets.  Sheehy  marched  his  men  into 
Thurles  in  good  order  only  to  see  some  twenty  Peelers  marching 
out  at  the  other  end  of  the  street.   Thurles  was  theirs  without 




firing  a  shot.  They  had  no  knowledge  of  what  was  taking  place 
elsewhere  and  knew  nothing  of  Joe  Gleason's  orders,  so  after 
waiting  some  time  they  helped  themselves  to  the  contents  of  a 
baker's  cart,  and  decided  to  return  to  their  homes  and  await 

Sheehy's  case  was  pathetic.  His  mother  was  a  bedridden 
widow  who  had  five  acres  of  land  which  he  used  as  a  paddock 
in  which  to  keep  cattle  between  fairs.  He  had  been  making  a 
good  living  and  was  his  mother's  only  support. 

We  were  standing  under  a  shed  out  of  a  shower  of  rain  in 
Portland,  he  with  his  stonecutter's  mallet  and  chisel  in  his  hands, 
as  he  told  me,  with  tears  in  his  eyes,  of  his  parting  with  his 
mother.  "She  put  an  elegant  green  sash  on  me,"  he  said,  "kissed 
me  and  gave  me  her  blessing  when  I  was  going  off  to  fight  for 
Ireland."  She  never  saw  him  again,  as  the  Peelers  were  hot  on 
his  trail  and  he  dared  not  go  home.  He  was  a  mere  boy  with 
regular  features  and  without  a  hair  on  his  face,  and  his  friends 
insisted  on  his  disguising  himself  as  a  woman  and  procured  him  a 
ticket  for  New  York  under  a  female  name.  As  he  stood  in  the 
line  of  female  passengers  on  the  dock  of  the  steamer  at  Cobh 
he  was  thinking  of  the  poor  sick  mother  he  had  left  behind  him 
(the  bravest  soul  in  all  Tipperary)  and  did  not  notice  when  his 
female  name  was  called  by  the  purser  who  was  checking  off  the 
list  of  passengers  until  a  girl  standing  next  him  nudged  him 
and  said:  "They're  calling  your  name."  He  roused  himself  and 
gulped  out  in  a  loud  voice:  "Here,  sir."  A  naval  officer  who  was 
standing  with  the  purser  said  at  once:  "That's  a  man."  They 
got  a  stewardess  to  examine  him  and  she  immediately  found  a 
turned  up  trousers  under  his  woman's  dress.  He  was  taken  off 
the  steamer,  tried  for  High  Treason  and  sentenced  to  twenty 
years'  penal  servitude.   His  mother  died  shortly  after. 

On  our  release,  he  went  with  William  Mackey  Lomasney  to 
Detroit,  where  later  he  married  Lomasney's  sister.  A  few  years 
afterward  he  was  drowned  in  the  Detroit  River. 

There  seems  to  be  no  doubt  that  Godfrey  Massey,  the  in- 
former, was  first  assigned  to  command  in  Tipperary,  the  leaders 
believing  that  his  fighting  record  in  the  Confederate  Army  was 
genuine,  but  according  to  Thomas  Francis  Bourke  it  was  bogus. 
When  he  was  arrested  at  the  Limerick  Junction  the  day  before 
the  Rising  he  fainted,  which  disposed  of  the  fighting  record  any- 
how, and  he  immediately  turned  informer  and  gave  the  Govern- 
ment all  the  information  he  had. 

The  "bad  drop"  was  in  him.  He  was  the  illegitimate  son  of 
one  of  the  Limerick  Masseys  by  the  wife  of  a  gatekeeper  named 



Condon,  and  he  was  known  by  the  latter  name  until  he  went  to 
Ireland.  Then,  glorying  in  his  mother's  shame,  he  took  the 
name  of  his  real  father. 

The  detachment  of  Fenians  under  command  of  Thomas  Fran- 
cis Bourke  at  Ballyhurst  Fort,  a  few  miles  from  the  town  of 
Tipperary,  was  attacked  by  British  troops  on  the  evening  of 
March  6  and  a  few  shots  were  exchanged,  but  serious  resistance 
by  unarmed  men  was  impossible  and  the  insurgents  quickly  dis- 
persed. Bourke  was  tried  for  High  Treason  in  Green  Street 
Courthouse  and  sentenced  to  be  hanged,  but  the  sentence  was 
commuted  to  penal  servitude  for  life.  His  great  speech  in  the 
dock  created  more  interest  than  the  whole  Rising,  and  was  a 
splendid  oratorical  effort. 

Michael  O'Neill  Fogarty,  of  Kilfeacle,  a  progressive,  prosperous 
farmer,  was  one  of  the  men  most  active  in  organizing  Tipperary 
and  was  out  in  the  Rising,  but,  although  all  his  men  turned  out, 
they  were  unable  to  accomplish  anything,  owing  to  the  same 
cause  that  brought  failure  everywhere  else — lack  of  arms. 
Fogarty  lost  his  farm,  but  escaped  to  America  and  died  in  New 
York  a  few  years  after  his  arrival.  His  fate  was  like  that  of  many 
others.  He  lost  all  he  had,  including  his  chance  of  dying  on  the 
battlefield  fighting  British  soldiers.  One  of  the  chief  results  of 
the  Rising  was  to  drive  many  of  the  best  men  out  of  Ireland 
and  force  them  to  seek  a  living  at  new  occupations  and  under 
most  unfavorable  conditions  in  a  strange  country. 

I  knew  Fogarty  well,  as  he  often  visited  Dublin  during  the 
early  'Sixties  and  I  met  him  in  the  Irish  People  office,  the  Mecca 
of  all  organization  men  who  visited  the  Capital.  He  and  I 
corresponded  regularly  and  his  letters  showed  that  he  had  a  fine 
intellect.  He  was  well  educated  and  wrote  very  well.  Physically 
he  was  a  splendid  Tipperary  type — 6  feet  4,  broad  shouldered 
and  very  powerfully  built,  but  with  a  slight  stoop.  After  Charles 
J.  Kickham,  Denis  Dowling  Mulcahy  and  Rody  Kickham  (first 
cousin  of  Charles) ,  Fogarty  was  the  chief  figure  of  the  move- 
ment in  Tipperary.  Rody  was,  perhaps,  the  most  popular  of 
all  except  the  author  of  "Knocknagow",  because  of  his  prowess 
as  an  athlete.  The  boys  always  called  him  "Rody  Kick",  not  for 
brevity,  but  in  admiration  of  his  agility  in  kicking  football. 
All  the  Tipperary  men  I  met  in  those  days  were  tall,  athletic 

Captain  Lawrence  O'Brien,  a  Tipperary  man  by  birth,  was 
arrested  before  the  Rising  and  was  in  Clonmel  Jail  when  it 
occurred.  His  skillfully  executed  escape  from  the  jail  after  the 
Rising  created  a  great  sensation.   The  following  sketch  of  him 


is  taken  from  the  official  History  of  the  Ninth  Connecticut  Volun- 

"Captain  Lawrence  O'Brien,  born  in  Cahir,  County  Tip- 
perary,  Ireland,  April  7,  1842;  son  of  Edward  and  Elizabeth 
(Hammel)  O'Brien.  When  ten  years  of  age,  he  was  brought 
to  this  country  by  his  parents.  They  finally  settled  in  New 
Haven,  Conn.,  where  Lawrence  attended  St.  Patrick's  paro- 
chial school.  He  learned  the  trade  of  bricklayer  and  was 
employed  thereat  when  the  Civil  War  broke  out.  He  had 
long  been  interested  in  military  matters  and  was  an  active 
member  of  the  Emmet  Guard,  of  New  Haven.  He  enlisted 
in  the  Ninth  Regiment  August  30,  1861,  assisted  Captain  Pat- 
rick Garvey  in  organizing  Company  B,  and  was  commis- 
sioned First  Lieutenant  of  the  Company.  He  was  a  splendid 
officer,  and  was  promoted  Captain  of  Company  D,  October  15, 
1862.  He  participated  with  his  regiment  in  all  the  move- 
ments of  the  latter  and  possessed  rare  tact,  judgment  and 
ability.  He  was  honorably  discharged  October  26,  1864,  his 
term  of  service  having  expired.  He  was  prominently  iden- 
tified with  the  Fenian  movement  and  in  1867  went  to  Ire- 
land, like  many  other  gallant  Union  officers,  in  furtherance 
of  the  cause  of  Irish  freedom.  He  was  captured  by  the 
enemy,  confined  in  Clonmel  Prison  and,  later,  astonished 
the  British  by  escaping  therefrom.  The  Croffut-Morris  work 
speaks  of  Captain  O'Brien  as  'a  brave  and  efficient  officer, 
fertile  in  expedients.' " 

After  his  return  from  Ireland  Captain  Larry  O'Brien  became 
a  builder  in  New  Haven  and  soon  became  prosperous.  He  was 
one  of  the  founders  of  the  Clan-na-Gael  in  New  Haven  and  was 
associated  with  James  Reynolds  in  the  organization  of  the 
Catalpa  Rescue.  He  was  an  active  member  of  the  Fenian  Vet- 
erans' Association  and  never  missed  the  annual  celebration  of 
the  Rising  of  March  5,  1867.  He  was  very  popular  among  native 
Americans  on  account  of  his  Civil  War  record  and  his  upstanding 
Americanism  and  was  on  every  local  committee  in  charge  of 
Revolutionary  and  Civil  War  events.  At  the  reception  to  General 
Shafter  after  his  return  from  the  Cuban  campaign,  the  chairman 
of  the  Reception  Committee  said  to  the  General  in  introducing 
the  two  veterans  of  the  Civil  War:  "Captain  O'Brien  was  a 
Fenian."  "A  Fenian?"  said  General  Shafter,  "I  was  a  Fenian  too. 
I  gave  Tom  Sweeney  leave  of  absence  to  go  to  Canada." 

Shafter  after  serving  as  a  General  of  Volunteers  in  the  Civil 
War  became  Colonel  of  the  First  Regiment  of  the  Regular  Army 
and  Sweeney  was  Major. 

Captain  O'Brien  by  ceaseless  efforts  covering  many  years 
secured  the  erection  of  a  number  of  tablets  at  historic  spots  in 
Connecticut  commemorating  the  aid  given  by  the  French  to  the 
Continental  Army  in  the  War  of  the  Revolution.  Although  only 
ten  years  old  when  he  arrived  in  America,  "Captain  Larry"  pre- 
served his  Tipperary  accent  to  the  day  of  his  death. 



Insurgents,  Led  by  Captain  Dunn,  Made  an  Ineffectual  Attempt 
to  Capture  the  Police  Barrack — Narrative  of  P.  N.  Kennedy, 
Who  Took  Part  in  Fighting. 

The  only  serious  fighting  in  Limerick  was  at  Kilmallock, 
where  the  Fenians  attacked  the  police  barrack,  but  were  defeated, 
mainly  by  the  arrival  of  a  small  reinforcement  of  police  from 

The  late  P.  N.  Kennedy  of  Perth  Amboy,  N.  J.,  who  took  part 
as  a  mere  boy  in  the  fighting  at  Kilmallock,  wrote  an  article  in 
the  Gaelic  American  in  1906  giving  his  experiences  in  the  Fenian 
movement.  The  following  is  the  portion  of  the  article  in  which 
he  tells  of  the  fighting  in  Kilmallock: 

"In  the  afternoon  of  this  day  (March  5)  I  received  orders  to 
be  at  a  certain  place  at  10  P.  M.,  where  I  met  nine  or  ten  others 
of  our  friends  and  also  a  man  who  had  just  returned  from  the 
United  States,  and  whom  I  previously  knew.  He  gave  us  instruc- 
tions how  to  proceed  and  left  us  for  some  other  duty.  One  of 
our  party  assumed  command  for  the  present  and  we  then  pro- 
ceeded to  collect  guns,  on  the  location  of  which  we  had  pre- 
viously informed  ourselves.  In  performing  this  duty  we  fell  in 
with  and  made  prisoner  of  a  mounted  policeman  who  was  the 
bearer  of  despatches.  Those  we  seized,  together  with  the  arms 
which  he  carried,  his  horse  and  furnishings.  This  policeman, 
who  said  his  name  was  O'Connor,  and  who  was  treated  humanely 
by  his  captors  while  held  as  a  prisoner,  turned  out  to  be  one  of 
the  most  zealous  prosecutors  of  those  of  us  who  were  taken 
prisoners  after  the  fight,  but  while  in  our  custody  he  acted  the 

"Having  fulfilled  our  orders  we  proceeded  to  join  the  main 
body  who  were  stationed  at  a  point  on  the  opposite  side  of  the 
town  from  where  we  were.  In  order  to  do  this  it  was  necessary 
to  make  a  detour  of  about  a  mile  and  a  half  so  as  to  avoid  a 
possible  military  patrol  on  the  highway,  our  party  being  consid- 
ered too  small  for  such  a  contingency,  besides  being  encumbered 
with  the  arms  we  had  collected,  a  prisoner  and  the  prisoner's 

"For  a  thorough  understanding  of  the  situation  it  might  be 
well  to  give  a  short  sketch  of  the  town  itself:    Kilmallock  is  in 




Limerick  County,  twenty  miles  from  the  city  of  that  name.  It 
is  beautifully  located  in  the  midst  of  some  of  the  most  fertile 
plains  to  be  found  in  the  whole  country.  A  small  stream  which 
has  its  source  in  the  Galtee  Mountains,  flows  by  the  town  and 
is  spanned  by  two  stone  bridges.  It  was  formerly  a  walled  town 
and  a  part  of  the  wall  still  remains,  as  well  as  the  ruins  of  an 
ancient  abbey  and  two  old  castles  which  still  stand,  one  on  each 
of  the  two  principal  streets  of  which  the  town  is  partly  com- 
posed, and  which  intersect  each  other  at  right  angles. 

"Those  two  principal  streets  contain  the  business  part  of  the 
town,  and  at  their  extremities  debouch  in  eight  different  direc- 
tions. I  am  particular  in  calling  attention  to  those  eight  dif- 
ferent roads  because  of  the  fact  that  in  our  attacks  on  the 
barrack  in  Kilmallock  the  enemy  were  liable  to  be  reinforced 
from  five  different  points  which  those  roads  led  to,  and  which 
afterwards  proved  to  be  the  case  in  some  instances.  It  is  un- 
necessary to  say  that  those  points  had  to  be  protected  as  much  as 
our  limited  means  would  warrant. 

"The  nine  or  ten  which  constituted  our  group  having  accom- 
plished the  purpose  for  which  we  were  detailed,  proceeded  to 
join  the  main  body,  taking  our  prisoner  with  us.  In  order  to 
accomplish  this  safely  it  was  necessary  to  make  a  detour,  as 
stated  above,  marching  southward  outside  the  town's  wall  and 
between  that  and  the  lake  which  is  situated  west  of  the  town. 
After  a  march  of  about  two  miles  we  joined  the  main  body,  who 
were  stationed  in  a  field  close  by  a  whitethorn  hedge  and  directly 
in  front  of  the  barrack,  and  within  gunshot  of  it,  which  they 
were  preparing  to  attack.  The  commander  of  our  little  party 
made  his  report  to  Captain  Dunn,  who  was  in  chief  command, 
and  who,  after  having  complimented  us,  placed  us  in  the  ranks 
to  await  orders. 

"It  is  necessary  for  me  to  digress  a  little  here  that  I  may 
describe  the  barrack,  its  location,  its  surroundings  and  our  rela- 
tive positions.  The  barrack  which  we  were  about  to  attack  was 
a  strong  three-story  building  of  stone,  erected  a  few  years  pre- 
viously, and  was  garrisoned  at  this  time  by  twenty-four  men, 
including  a  Head  Constable  and  Sergeant.  It  was  set  back  from 
the  street  about  twenty-five  feet,  having  a  courtyard  in  front 
which  was  fenced  off  from  that  street  by  a  stone  wall  three  feet 
high,  said  wall  being  pierced  by  a  gateway  constructed  of  iron. 
This  wall,  later  on  in  the  fight,  formed  a  good  breastwork. 

"About  three  or  four  hundred  yards  south  of  the  barrack  the 
road  divided  in  two  different  directions,  one  of  which  led  to  the 
railroad  station  and  so  on  to  Kilfinane,  a  town  at  the  foot  of  the 



Galtee  range  of  mountains,  and  four  or  five  miles  distant.  Where 
the  other  led  to  is  immaterial.  At  the  fork  of  those  two  roads 
and  parallel  with  them  stood  one  of  those  institutions  of  English 
civilization  known  as  poorhouses.  This  poorhouse  was  con- 
structed of  stone  masonry,  and  flanked  the  two  roads  mentioned 
for  a  considerable  distance. 

"In  the  town  of  Kilfinane  there  was  also  a  garrison  of  police, 
it  being  the  headquarters  of  the  police  Inspector,  whose  name 
was  Milling.  About  half  way  between  the  two  towns  was  the 
residence  of  a  county  magistrate  named  Weldon.  In  Kilfinane 
there  was  no  danger  of  attack  on  the  police  from  any  source. 
They  were  therefore  at  liberty  to  dispose  of  themselves  as  they 
thought  best.  I  have  already  mentioned  the  necessity  of  guard- 
ing different  points  from  a  possible  attack  on  our  flanks  or  rear. 
This  was  the  most  important  one,  as  the  distance  from  which 
the  enemy  could  be  reinforced  was  the  shortest.  You  will,  there- 
fore, see  the  urgent  necessity  of  protecting  our  right  flank  at  this 
important  point.  Our  commander  recognized  this,  and  therefore 
placed  thirty  men,  under  the  command  of  one  Birmingham,  in 
the  poorhouse,  for  that  purpose. 

"Directly  in  front  of  the  barrack  and  separated  from  it  by 
the  street  was  an  open  field.  This  field  was  bounded  on  the 
south  side  by  a  whitehorn  hedge  which  ran  at  right  angles  to 
the  street.  Near  this  hedge,  about  four  o'clock  on  the  morning 
of  the  6th  (which  was  dark) ,  we  were  placed  in  position  prepara- 
tory to  proceeding  to  the  attack.  In  the  darkness  we  marched 
across  the  field  taking  positions  at  the  rear  and  sides  of  the 
building  and  some  in  front  at  the  before-mentioned  three-foot 
wall,  at  which  latter  place  I  was  stationed.  I  mention  this  be- 
cause from  that  place  we  had  a  full  view  north  and  south  and  I 
was  therefore  in  a  good  position  to  note  what  was  happening. 

"Just  as  we  took  our  positions  a  volley  came  from  the  upper 
stories  of  the  barrack  without  any  results  except,  because  of  its 
regularity,  to  impress  on  us  the  difference  between  well-drilled, 
well-armed  men  and  an  ill-armed,  undrilled  mob.  But  if  we 
were  deficient  in  both  the  drill  and  the  arms,  the  spirit  existed. 
Had  the  garrison  fired  a  few  minutes  sooner  many  lives  would 
have  been  sacrificed  because  of  our  necessarily  exposed  position, 
but  thanks  to  the  extreme  darkness  and  precautions  taken,  this 
calamity  was  averted.  A  desultory  firing  was  kept  up  on  our 
part  until  daylight,  and  was  returned  in  regular  military  style 
by  the  garrison.  In  this  manner  things  went  on  until  seven  or 
eight  o'clock,  when  the  garrison  was  summoned  to  surrender, 
and  upon  their  refusal  a  party  was  detailed  to  use  Greek  fire  for 
the  purpose  of  making  a  breach,  at  least  on  one  side  of  the 



building.  While  proceeding  to  execute  this  plan,  we  were  sur- 
prised by  a  volley  on  our  right  flank — that  is  to  say,  from  the 
point  where  we  least  expected  it,  having  taken  the  precaution 
of  placing  thirty  men  there  before  daylight  for  the  purpose  of 
intercepting  an  expected  surprise  from  the  Kilfmane  police  as 
before  stated. 

"It  afterwards  turned  out  that  those  men,  with  their  leader, 
deserted  their  post  before  being  attacked.  The  person  in  com- 
mand of  the  party  I  knew  well.  He  completely  disappeared,  and 
it  was  well  that  he  did  so.  This  place  could  have  been  held  by 
five  determined  men  with  rifles;  and  it  is  to  the  desertion  of  this 
post  that  all  the  casualties  which  ensued  may  be  attributed.  Of 
course,  because  of  the  reinforcement  of  the  enemy  on  our  right, 
and  having  the  garrison  immediately  in  front  of  us,  our  position 
became  untenable,  and  we  were  therefore  compelled  to  evacuate 
that  position  for  another.  To  do  so  was  no  easy  matter,  especially 
for  those  of  us  who  were  behind  the  three-foot  wall,  as  we 
were  exposed  to  the  fire  of  the  reinforcing  party  on  our  flank, 
and  to  move  any  distance  at  right  angles  to  the  wall  would, 
because  of  its  low  altitude,  expose  us  to  the  fire  from  the  bar- 
rack. We  were  therefore  compelled  to  crawl  in  single  file  on 
hands  and  knees  to  a  place  of  comparative  safety.  We  held  our 
new  position  for  some  considerable  time,  retreating  slowly  until 
we  came  to  the  intersection  of  the  two  principal  streets,  where 
we  made  a  stand,  and  where  we  were  sheltered  to  some  extent 
by  the  buildings. 

"By  this  time  the  reinforcements  arrived  at  the  barrack  and 
were  joined  by  the  garrison  who  issued  therefrom  upon  the 
arrival  of  the  others.  It  was  from  then  on  plain  street  firing 
on  both  sides,  and  notwithstanding  the  superior  arms  of  the 
enemy,  together  with  the  advantages  of  drill,  and  having  the 
Inspector  of  Police  and  a  Magistrate  at  their  head,  we  still  held 
our  position. 

"It  was  now  between  nine  and  ten  o'clock  in  the  forenoon 
when  a  courier  arrived  with  the  information  that  Massey,  the 
district  commander,  was  arrested  at  Limerick  Junction.  We 
understood  at  once  that  'the  jig  was  up'.  We  instantly  realized 
our  position.  We  were  liable  to  be  hanged  for  High  Treason. 
How  were  we  to  escape?  I  believe  the  few  of  us  who  were  then 
remaining  (ten  or  twelve) ,  with  the  heat,  passion,  bitterness  and 
anxiety,  would  just  as  lief  fight  it  out  to  a  finish  then  and  there 
and  have  done  with  it.  This  feeling  was  superinduced  by  the 
death  of  a  young  medical  gentleman,  Dr.  Cleary,  who  was  at  that 
moment  shot  directly  in  front  of  us  and  in  presence  of  his  two 
brothers  who  participated  in  the  fight.    This  promising  young 



man  had  just  been  graduated  from  a  Dublin  Medical  College, 
where  he  became  affiliated  with  the  organization — for  the  prin- 
ciples of  which  he  sacrificed  his  life.  Peace  to  his  memory. 

"I  said  that  by  this  time  there  were  but  ten  or  twelve  of  us 
remaining  with  our  commander.  This  was  partly  because  of  the 
fact  that  a  large  percentage  of  our  men  being  armed  only  with 
pikes,  and  those  being  useless  in  a  fight  of  that  description,  threw 
them  away  and  disappeared  in  the  darkness  of  the  early  morn- 
ing. That,  and  the  desertion  of  the  poorhouse  contingent,  to- 
gether with  others  who  had  fowling  pieces,  left  our  ranks 
thinned  to  the  few  I  have  just  stated.  We  then  held  council  as 
to  what  was  best  to  be  done,  and  on  the  advice  of  Captain  Dunn 
decided  that  further  resistance  would  be  worse  than  useless. 

"We  then  separated  and  went  in  different  directions,  some 
going  to  the  seaports  to  get  out  of  the  country,  which  proved  to 
be  the  worst  thing  they  could  have  done,  as  all  who  attempted  it 
were  arrested  and  brought  back  to  stand  trial  for  High  Treason 
(which  afterwards  was  changed  to  Treason-Felony) ,  and  others 
hid  themselves,  by  the  connivance  of  friends,  in  their  respective 
localities  until  opportunities  occurred  for  them  to  leave  the 
country.  The  last  I  saw  of  Captain  Dunn,  was  when  he  was 
seated  on  the  policeman's  horse  bidding  us  farewell. 

"We  each  took  different  ways  and  means  of  escape  (but,  to 
tell  the  story  of  this,  as  well  as  the  sufferings  we  endured,  would 
be  tedious)  until  those  of  us  who  succeeded  in  escaping  arrest 
finally  got  out  of  the  country. 

"Thus  ended  the  '67  Insurrection  in  one  town  in  Ireland. 
Ill-starred  though  it  was,  yet  it  had  its  usefulness,  and  during 
all  these  years  I  have  yet  to  see  the  man  who  regretted  his  par- 
ticipation in  it.  The  spirit  which  animated  them  is  still  extant, 
and  will  be  until  that  which  they  fought  for  is  accomplished; 
that  is,  the  inherent  God-given  right  of  every  nation  to  be  gov- 
erned by  the  will  of  its  people. 

"If  Captain  Dunn  is  still  'to  the  fore'  (and  I  hope  he  is)  and 
if  these  lines  should  meet  his  eye,  he  will  probably  remember 
a  young  fellow  of  about  eighteen  whom  he  ordered  during  the 
fight  to  take  some  men  and  confiscate  any  guns  owned  by  non- 
combatant  residents  of  the  town  for  our  use.  Among  those  resi- 
dents was  a  banker  named  Bourke  who  possessed  a  very  fine 
revolver.  When  ordered  to  surrender  it  he  refused,  saying  that 
he  would  not  part  with  it  except  by  force.  We  could,  of  course, 
have  killed  him  or  put  him  hors  de  combat,  and  taken  it,  but 
I  did  not  feel  justified  in  doing  so,  and  so  reported  to  the  Captain, 
who  I  thought,  from  his  manner,  was  going  to  shoot  me.  He 



immediately  ordered  me  to  follow  him  and  he  proceeded  to  the 
banker's  office.  Upon  the  Captain's  appearance  the  banker  raised 
his  revolver;  so  did  the  Captain  raise  his.  It  was  a  fair  fight.  It 
was  a  question  of  who  was  the  quickest,  and  it  proved  to  be  the 
Captain.  The  banker  was  shot  through  the  neck.  I  believe  he 
afterwards  recovered;  at  least  I  hope  so. 

"P.  N.  Kennedy 
"Perth  Amboy,  N.  J.,  February  21,  1906." 



Arrest  of  John  Clune  and  Colonel  John  G.  Healy  in  Previous 
February  a  Severe  Blow — Insurgents,  Under  Thomas  Mc- 
Carthy Fennell,  Captured  Two  Coastguard  Stations — Col- 
onel Healy's  Record  in  the  Civil  War. 

The  Rising  in  Clare  would  have  been  more  formidable,  but 
for  the  arrest  of  John  Clune,  with  Lieutenant-Colonel  John 
G.  Healy  and  David  Murphy  of  Limerick  as  they  were  passing 
through  Limerick  on  their  way  to  Clare  in  February,  as  Colonel 
O'Connor  had  just  started  his  insurrection  in  Kerry.  They  had 
apparently  got  the  original  order  to  start  the  fight  on  February 
11,  but  had  not  heard  of  the  postponement.  Had  they  reached 
Clare  there  would  undoubtedly  have  been  a  good  fight  in  old 
Corcabaiscin  and  it  would  very  probably  have  led  to  a  general 
Rising  throughout  the  country.  Of  course,  it  could  not  have 
succeeded,  owing  to  the  lack  of  arms,  but  it  would  have  been 
of  a  more  serious  character  than  the  fiasco  of  March  5  and  to 
some  extent  would  have  saved  the  credit  of  the  movement. 

The  Dalcassians  have  always  been  splendid  fighters.  John 
Clune  had  the  confidence  of  his  men  who  had  two  hundred 
rifles.  Colonel  Healy  was  a  very  capable  officer,  with  a  fine  fight- 
ing record  in  the  Civil  War. 

John  Clune  picked  Colonel  Healy  for  the  command  in  Clare 
because  of  his  belief  in  his  military  ability.  Besides  being  a 
very  good  fighter,  Healy  was  a  man  of  great  energy,  very  enter- 
prising and  resourceful  and  had  he  once  got  started  in  Clare 
would  undoubtedly  have  given  a  good  account  of  himself.  I 
knew  him  very  well  in  later  years  in  New  Haven,  Conn.,  where 
he  was  an  active  member  of  the  Clan-na-Gael,  and  I  always  re- 
garded his  arrest  as  a  great  misfortune,  coming  at  the  critical 
time  it  did. 

The  following  extract  is  taken  from  Healy's  record  in  the  of- 
ficial History  of  the  Ninth  Connecticut  Volunteers: 

"Colonel  John  G.  Healy,  born  in  New  Haven,  Conn.,  Feb- 
ruary 12,  1841;  son  of  Thomas  and  Mary  (Gray)  Healy. 
*  *  *  He  learned  the  trade  of  marble  cutter.  Early  ac- 
quiring a  taste  for  military  knowledge,  he  became  a  member 
of  the  famous  Emmet  Guard  of  New  Haven,  an  organization 
that  furnished  many  officers  to  the  army  of  the  Union.  He 
enlisted  in  Company  C,  Ninth  Regiment,  August  20,  1861; 




was  mustered  as  First  Lieutenant,  October  30,  that  year,  and 
was  promoted  Captain  of  the  company,  April  15,  1862.  Upon 
the  consolidation  of  the  regiment  into  the  Ninth  battalion, 
in  October,  1864,  he  being  the  senior  Captain,  was  given  com- 
mand of  the  latter.  He  was  promoted  Lieutenant-Colonel 
December  1,  1864  and  was  mustered  out  with  the  battalion 
in  August,  1865.  He  participated  with  the  Ninth  in  many 
important  events  of  the  Civil  War,  and  proved  himself  a 
very  superior  officer.  *  *  *  In  1866,  Colonel  Healy,  in 
company  with  Captain  Laurence  O'Brien  and  Lieutenant 
Joseph  H.  Lawler,  of  the  Ninth,  C.  V.,  went  to  Ireland,  in  con- 
nection with  the  Fenian  movement,  in  which  many  other 
veteran  officers  of  the  Union  Army  participated.  Colonel 
Healy  was  arrested  in  the  city  of  Limerick  and  was  a  pris- 
oner in  the  hands  of  the  British  for  six  months.  *  *  * 
Still  vigorous  and  active,  he  undertook,  upon  the  outbreak 
of  our  recent  war  with  Spain,  to  organize  an  Irish  regiment. 
He  communicated  with  the  Governor  of  Connecticut  and 
received  much  encouragement.  The  New  Haven  Leader,  May 
3,  1898,  stated  that  'As  the  result  of  a  visit  to  Governor  Cooke 
at  Hartford  last  week,  Colonel  John  G.  Healy  is  accepting 
applications  from  men  who  want  to  enlist  in  a  regiment 
which  the  Colonel  intends  to  organize.  *  *  *'  The  unex- 
pectedly brief  duration  of  the  war,  however,  rendered  the 
projected  regiment  unnecessary. 

"Speaking  of  his  services  in  the  Civil  War,  Dr.  Rollin 
McNeil,  of  New  Haven,  pays  the  following  tribute  to  Colonel 
Healy:  'As  surgeon  of  the  Ninth  Connecticut  Veterans  Volun- 
teers, I  was  thrown  into  most  intimate  relations  with  him, 
and  the  friendship  that  resulted  has  continued  during  all 
the  long  years  since  the  Civil  War.  His  bravery  in  the  field 
is  a  matter  of  record.  The  day  Sheridan  made  his  famous 
ride,  Colonel  Healy  was  in  the  forefront,  the  colors  in  his 
hand.  I  don't  think  he  ever  knew  the  meaning  of  the  word 
'fear'.  He  led  his  men  in  battle;  he  cared  for  them  in  camp, 
and  on  the  march,  with  a  solicitude  that  won  their  affection. 
A  thorough  disciplinarian,  when  discipline  was  necessary, 
he  stood  always  for  the  rights  of  his  men,  and  the  honor  of 
the  command.  I  can  recall  nothing  but  pleasant  memories 
of  the  days  when  we  marched  and  camped  together.  We 
were  boys  then;  we  are  grey-haired  veterans  now;  yet  we 
still  touch  elbows  with  the  few  old  comrades — noble  fellows 
all  of  them — who  are  still  this  side  of  the  Great  Divide,  proud 
of  our  regiment,  proud  of  its  record,  drawing  closer  to  each 
other  as  our  ranks  grow  thinner,  keeping  alive  the  old  friend- 
ship and  the  old  enthusiasms.  And  so  may  it  be  to  the 
end.' " 

Following  is  the  brief  report  in  the  Freeman's  Journal  of 
March  7,  1867,  of  the  capture  of  the  Coastguard  Stations: 

"Reports  from  County  Clare  announce  that  the  Coast- 
guard Station  at  Kilbaha  was  attacked  last  night  and  the 
arms  and  ammunition  taken.  One  man  was  wounded.  The 
Insurgents  then  marched  towards  Kilrush.  The  Coast  Guard 
Station  at  Carrigaholt  was  also  taken  with  all  the  arms  and 

Thomas  McCarthy  Fennell,  who  led  at  Kilbaha,  had  no  mili- 
tary training  or  experience,  but  was  a  man  of  fine  character. 
He  was  sentenced  to  a  term  of  penal  servitude,  most  of  which  he 



served  in  Western  Australia,  and  was  released,  with  all  the  civilian 
prisoners,  through  Gladstone's  Partial  Amnesty  of  1869.  The 
first  time  I  met  him  was  when  he  came  to  New  York  to  lay  be- 
fore me  his  plan  for  the  rescue  of  the  Fenian  soldier  prisoners 
whom  he  had  left  behind  him  in  Western  Australia. 

Had  the  Fenians  of  Clare  been  given  the  opportunity  they 
would  have  acquitted  themselves  well  in  the  Rising  and  would 
have  bagged  more  than  two  little  Coastguard  stations.  But 
Kilbaha  and  Carrigaholt  were  victories  and  they  had  no  failures. 
That  is  a  record  made  by  no  other  county  in  the  Rising  of  1867. 



Drogheda  Men  Fired  on  by  Police  While  Awaiting  Arms — In 
mountmellick  enough  men  did  not  turn  out  to  attack 
Barrack — Waterford  Did  Not  Respond  to  Call  and  No  Fight 
Took  Place. 

There  were  three  other  fiascoes,  which  were  not  reported  in 
the  newspapers, — one  in  Drogheda,  another  in  Mountmellick,  and 
the  third  in  Waterford,  but  I  got  the  facts  from  men  who  par- 
ticipated in  them. 

The  Drogheda  men  were  among  the  best  in  Ireland,  but  they 
were  caught  in  a  trap  by  the  police  while  waiting  for  the  arms 
to  be  distributed  and  were  dispersed,  without  any  casualties.  I 
got  the  story  from  Harry  Mulleda,  one  of  my  fellow  prisoners 
in  Chatham,  a  Dublin  man  who  was  assigned  to  Drogheda  as  an 
officer.  Lieutenant-Colonel  Leonard  of  John  O'Mahony's  Ninety- 
ninth  New  York  National  Guard  regiment,  was  in  command  and 
the  men  were  assembled  in  an  open  space  with  a  semi-circular 
wall  at  the  back  and  the  front  open  to  the  street,  where  the 
arms  were  to  be  distributed  to  them.  A  man  named  Flynn  was 
to  bring  them.  While  they  were  waiting,  the  Peelers,  appar- 
ently notified  by  a  patrol,  came  on  them  in  the  dark,  and  fired  a 
volley  which  hit  nobody.  Before  the  police,  who  were  in  open 
order,  had  time  to  reload,  the  unarmed  men  rushed  them  and  got 
through  in  safety.  That  was  the  end  of  the  Rising  in  Drogheda. 
Colonel  Leonard  and  Mulleda  got  away  with  the  rest. 

Mulleda  started  for  Dublin  on  foot  and  about  ten  or  eleven 
0-clock  next  morning  met  Flynn  several  miles  from  Drogheda 
with  a  cartload  of  arms  heading  for  the  town.  Flynn  explained 
that  the  delay  was  caused  by  his  inability  to  get  a  horse  and 
cart.  The  men  in  Drogheda  were  naturally  very  much  disap- 
pointed at  being  unable  to  do  their  part  in  the  Rising,  but  none 
of  them  was  arrested,  as  the  police  did  not  recognize  any  of 
them  in  the  dark  and  there  was  no  evidence  against  them.  They 
were  very  bitter  against  Flynn  for  his  failure  to  turn  up  with 
the  arms,  but  the  arrangements  for  their  distribution  were  very 
bad.  I  don't  know  how  many  rifles  were  in  the  cart,  but  I  be- 
lieve they  were  all  saved. 

Flynn  got  away  to  America  and  lived  for  many  years  in  South 
Brooklyn,  where  he  was  a  neighbor  of  John  J.  Breslin.    I  had 




told  Breslin  the  story  of  his  failure  and  he  cross-examined  Flynn 
and  introduced  him  to  me.  After  hearing  his  explanation, 
which  included  a  long  story  of  disappointment  in  procuring  a 
horse  and  cart  after  the  man  with  whom  he  had  arranged  to 
get  them  had  gone  back  on  his  word,  we  both  made  up  our 
minds  that  he  was  an  honest  man,  but  a  hopelessly  "slow  coach" 
— a  kind  of  Athelstane  the  Unready,  who  had  no  idea  of  the 
value  of  time.  Yet  he  was  a  mechanical  genius  who  patented 
several  inventions  in  this  country.  His  manner  and  speech  were 
those  of  a  very  slow  man.  He  was  certainly  the  wrong  man  to 
select  for  such  a  mission,  but,  as  he  was  an  old  member,  all 
the  Drogheda  men  knew  him  and  had  only  themselves  to  blame 
for  picking  him  for  the  job. 

Colonel  Leonard,  who  was  a  Kerryman,  escaped  to  New  York, 
where  he  died  a  few  years  later,  and  Mulleda  was  sentenced 
to  seven  years'  penal  servitude  as  Colonel  Ric.  Burke's  aide  in 
the  purchase  of  arms  in  Birmingham.  He,  too,  died  in  New 

There  had  been  a  fine  Circle  in  Mountmellick  which  included 
some  prominent  business  men,  but  several  of  the  best  of  them 
were  arrested  after  the  Suspension  of  the  Habeas  Corpus  Act  in 
1866,  and  released  on  condition  of  going  to  America,  and  many 
others  left  the  country  to  avoid  arrest.  By  the  time  the  Rising 
came  it  was  greatly  reduced  in  numbers.  When  I  was  there 
at  the  end  of  1865,  Matthew  Fleming,  the  son  of  a  very  well-to-do 
publican,  was  the  Centre  and  his  younger  brother,  George,  was 
only  a  mere  boy.  Both  later  became  prominent  business  men 
in  the  Stockyards  District  of  Chicago,  and  while  I  was  living 
there  I  saw  George  very  often.  In  New  York,  Michael  Lynch, 
another  Mountmellick  man,  was  very  active  in  the  Clan-na-Gael 
and  I  heard  all  about  what  happened  in  the  town  on  March  5 
from  all  three.  When  over  80  years  of  age  Lynch  returned  to 
Leix  and  died  there. 

On  the  night  of  the  Rising  not  more  than  twenty  men  turned 
out  with  only  five  or  six  rifles,  so  they  could  not  attack  the  police 
barrack.  Instead  they  made  a  demonstration  in  front  of  it  and 
exchanged  some  words  with  the  Peelers.  They  were  all  ar- 
rested next  day,  and  sent  to  Dublin  for  trial,  but  were  given  only 
short  terms  of  imprisonment.  My  family  knew  the  Flemings 
very  well  and  my  sisters  sat  in  the  gallery  of  Green  Street  Court- 
house with  Mary  Anne  Fleming,  the  sister  of  the  boys,  who  was 
a  handsome  girl.  The  family  always  regarded  George  as  a 
child,  because  he  was  small,  while  his  brother,  Matt,  was  a  fine, 
strapping  fellow;  but  George  was  full  of  courage  and  had  a 
fine  mind.  His  sister  was  very  tense  during  the  trial  and  when 



sentence  was  imposed  she  said  to  my  sister  with  a  sigh  of  relief: 
"Well,  I  don't  mind  as  long  as  he  didn't  cry."  George  Fleming 
was  not  a  "cry  baby"  and  he  showed  lots  of  courage,  both  moral 
and  physical,  in  the  fight  with  the  "Triangle"  in  Chicago. 

Colonel  Ricard  O'Sullivan  Burke  was  assigned  to  the  com- 
mand of  Waterford  in  the  Rising,  but  less  than  fifty  answered 
the  call.  As  they  were  too  few  in  numbers  and  short  of  arms 
to  do  anything  effective,  Burke  marched  them  into  Tipperary  to 
effect  a  junction  with  the  men  there,  but  when  he  got  across 
the  border  next  day  the  "Tips"  were  all  scattered,  so  he  had  to 
send  his  men  home  without  any  attempt  at  a  fight. 

There  was  no  attempt  at  a  Rising  in  Connacht.  The  West 
was  asleep,  but  the  province  was  saved  thereby  from  the  exodus 
which  depleted  the  organization  in  Munster  and  partly  in  Dub- 
lin. That  enabled  the  reorganized  Movement  to  do  very  effec- 
tive work  in  the  West,  and  when  I  visited  Ireland  in  1879  Mayo 
was  one  of  the  banner  counties.  It  was  nearly  a  tie  between  it 
and  Cavan,  the  latter  county  having  3,500  members  and  Mayo 
over  3,000.  Mayo  started  the  Land  League,  of  which  the  I.  R.  B. 
was  the  backbone  in  its  fighting  days. 

Had  I  been  a  free  man  in  the  month  of  March,  1867,  I  would 
have  voted  with  James  J.  O'Kelly  in  opposition  to  the  Rising 
at  that  time  as  strenuously  as  I  advocated  fighting  in  1865  and 
the  early  part  of  1866,  when  we  could  have  fought  with  reason- 
able hope  of  success.  But  the  real  cause  of  the  failure  was  the 
neglect  to  procure  arms  when  they  could  have  been  easily  ob- 
tained. We  talked  fight  for  ten  years  and  failed  to  provide  the 
means  of  fighting,  depending  on  our  friends  in  America  to  send 
an  expedition.  And  that  such  an  expedition  was  possible  was 
proved  by  the  Erin's  Hope. 



Vessel  Set  Sail  from  New  York  a  Month  After  the  Rising  Had 
Failed,  with  8,000  Rifles  and  40  Officers — Cruised  Half  Way 
Around  Ireland  and  Got  Safely  Back  to  America. 

The  Erin's  Hope  expedition  was  a  romantic  incident  and  an 
illustration  of  the  confusion  and  inefficiency  into  which  the  move- 
ment had  fallen  owing  to  the  Split.  The  vessel,  originally  named 
the  Jackmel,  had  been  bought  by  the  O'Mahony  section  of  the 
organization  a  considerable  time  before  the  expedition  started 
and  the  arms  which  she  later  carried  were  in  the  possession  of 
the  Fenians  in  New  York.  But  the  work  of  organizing  the  expe- 
dition was  very  slow.  It  is  probable  that  nobody  in  New  York 
knew  the  date  set  for  the  Rising  in  Ireland  and  it  was  only  made 
known  when  the  newspapers  reported  it. 

The  despatches  published  in  America  stated  that  the  attempted 
insurrection  had  been  suppressed  in  one  night,  and  that  quiet 
reigned  all  over  Ireland.  O'Mahony  and  his  friends,  however,  felt 
that  this  statement  was  but  one  more  effort  on  the  part  of  Eng- 
land to  keep  the  outside  world  in  ignorance  of  the  true  state  of 
affairs  in  Ireland.  The  men  in  New  York  were  confident  that 
large  bodies  of  Fenians  still  held  the  field,  and  could  continue 
to  do  so  for  a  considerable  time.  It  was  on  this  assumption  that 
the  Jackmel  sailed  from  New  York  on  April  12,  1867. 

She  was  under  command  of  Captain  Kavanagh,  who  had  been 
a  Lieutenant  in  the  Volunteer  Navy  of  the  United  States  during 
the  Civil  War,  hoisted  the  Irish  flag  on  April  29,  and  changed  her 
name  to  the  Erin's  Hope. 

She  had  8,000  Springfield  rifles  (converted  into  breech-load- 
ers) ,  and  40  officers  on  board.  She  arrived  in  Sligo  Bay  on  May  20, 
where  Col.  Ricard  O'Sullivan  Burke  boarded  her  and  informed 
Captain  Kavanagh  that  the  Rising  had  been  suppressed  two 
months  previously.  As  the  vessel  was  short  of  provisions  Captain 
Cavanagh  had  to  land  somewhere,  but  conditions  made  it  impos- 
sible on  the  West  Coast,  so  he  took  the  vessel,  dodging  British 
cruisers,  half  way  around  the  island,  and  eventually  landed  thirty 
of  his  passengers  at  Helvic  Head,  near  Dungarvan,  County  Water- 




ford,  commandeering  a  large  fishing  boat  for  the  purpose.  As  the 
men  had  to  wade  ashore  through  shallow  water  and  sand,  their 
trousers  bore  the  marks  of  the  operation  and  the  police  were  able 
to  recognize  them  easily,  as  in  small  groups  or  separately  they 
walked  along  the  roads.  All  of  them  were  arrested,  but  only  two, 
John  Warren  and  Augustine  E.  Costello,  were  convicted  and  sen- 
tenced to  fifteen  years'  penal  servitude.  The  vessel  got  safely 
back  to  America  and  discharged  her  cargo  of  arms  and  ammuni- 

Burke's  adventures  while  waiting  for  the  vessel  to  arrive  were 
of  the  most  extraordinary  kind.  His  fine,  gentlemanly  manners 
and  splendid  figure  enabled  him  to  impose  himself  on  the  local 
gentry,  including  magistrates,  as  a  gentleman  of  leisure  trav- 
elling for  pleasure.  He  was  the  guest  of  two  or  three  of  them, 
dined  at  their  tables,  was  introduced  to  their  friends  and  allowed 
to  shoot  and  fish  on  their  grounds.  Their  suspicions  were  never 
once  aroused  and  it  was  only  at  the  trials  of  Warren  and  Costello 
that  they  learned  of  their  guest's  identity  through  the  testimony 
of  Buckley,  one  of  the  American  officers  who  went  ashore  at  Dun- 
garvan.  Buckley  had  fought  well  in  the  Civil  War,  but  he  ad- 
mitted on  the  witness  stand  that  it  was  fear  of  imprisonment 
which  made  him  testify  against  his  comrades. 

The  cruise  of  the  Erin's  Hope  proved  conclusively  that  an  ex- 
pedition could  have  been  sent  from  America  to  Ireland.  If  the 
vessel  had  been  a  steamer  she  could  have  performed  the  feat 
much  more  quickly,  but  the  funds  wherewith  a  steamship  could 
have  been  purchased  had  been  spent  in  the  Split.  The  speed  of 
the  Erin's  Hope  was  not  a  factor  in  this  instance,  however;  she 
was  late  anyway.  It  was  in  reality  two  years  too  late  for  a  cargo 
such  as  she  carried  to  be  of  most  effective  service  to  the  Fenians 
in  Ireland,  and  to  the  Cause  which  they  so  unselfishly  endeavored 
to  carry  to  success  against  tremendous  odds. 



Colonel  Thomas  J.  Kelly,  After  Being  Chosen  Chief  Executive 
of  the  I.  R.  B.,  Arrested  in  Manchester,  England,  with  Cap- 
tain Deasy — Story  of  Daring  Exploit  Told  by  Ricard  O'Sul- 
livan  Burke. 

The  following  account  of  events  in  Manchester,  England,  in 
the  Fall  of  1867,  written  by  Colonel  Ricard  O'Sullivan  Burke,  was 
published  many  years  ago  in  the  Gaelic  American: 

"The  change  in  the  structure  of  the  Fenian  Brotherhood  in 
America  resulting  from  the  two  conventions,  at  Chicago  and 
Cincinnati,  by  which  that  body  passed  from  a  military  organiza- 
tion, where  authority  in  command  was  'centered'  in  the  head,  to 
a  political  body,  where  authority  emanated  from  the  units, 
brought  much  disappointment  to  the  members  of  the  Fenian 
Brotherhood  who  were  officers  in  the  various  armies  in  the  field 
in  1863  and  1864. 

"These  well-equipped,  experienced  officers  were  aware  of  the 
fact  that  an  army  cannot  be  commanded  by  a  debating  society: 
that  discussion  is  not  a  working  substitute  for  orders,  and  that 
the  old  form  of  the  Fenian  Brotherhood,  by  reason  of  its  thorough 
cohesion  and  instant  obedience  to  directions,  was  a  far  more 
effective  method  of  applying  force  along  any  worthy  field  of 
effort  than  the  body  was  which  resulted  from  the  two  conven- 
tions referred  to,  in  which  there  was  no  power  to  give  directions 
nor  discipline  to  yield  obedience. 

"This  disappointment  was  still  further  augmented  by  the 
empty  pomp  shown  in  connection  with  the  Fenian  Brotherhood  in 
New  York  City  in  1865,  in  which  modesty  and  intelligence  seem  to 
have  abandoned  all  effort  to  the  control  of  absurdity.  This  condi- 
tion was  intensified  later  by  the  treason  to  Ireland  shown  first  by 
a  part  of  the  American  Fenian  Brotherhood  withdrawing  re- 
sources, personal  and  material,  from  the  pledged  direct  aid  to 
Ireland  and  apparently  applying  them  towards  an  attack  on 
Canada,  and  secondly,  by  the  remainder  of  the  American  Fenian 
Brotherhood,  which,  after  a  brief  interval  of  adherence  to  the 
pledged  duty  to  Ireland,  yielded  to  the  ignorant  clamor  of  the 
time,  and  joined  in  the  treasonable  diversion  of  the  personal  and 
material  resources  of  the  remainder  of  the  organization  to  an 
attempt  to  capture  a  piece  of  Canada. 




"Both  'wings'  of  the  Organization  of  the  Fenian  Brotherhood 
thus  abandoned  their  pledged  duty  to  Ireland.  The  effect  of  all 
this  on  the  Home  Organization  or  I.  R.  B.,  was  most  marked.  It 
was  an  appeal  to  their  individual  sense  of  self-reliance,  and  in 
furtherance  of  the  high  purpose  of  the  Home  Organization,  in 
1867,  a  general  Convention  of  the  I.  R.  B.  was  held  in  Manchester, 
England,  about  the  early  part  of  August  (or  late  in  July) .  About 
three  hundred  delegates  came  from  Ireland,  Scotland,  Wales  and 

"At  this  Convention  Captain  James  Murphy,  of  the  Twentieth 
Massachusetts  Infantry  Volunteers,  was  Chairman;  Captain 
Ricard  O'S.  Burke  (myself)  of  the  Fifteenth  Regiment,  New  York 
Engineers,  Headquarters  Army  of  the  Potomac,  was  Secretary. 
The  Convention  fully  reviewed  the  various  developments  in  the 
United  States.  The  abandonment  by  James  Stephens  of  the  Home 
Organization,  following  the  abandonment  of  the  latter  by  each 
of  the  'wings'  in  America,  intensified  the  purpose  of  the  Home 
Organization  to  stand  erect,  self-reliant  and  firm  of  purpose, 
— even  if  every  Irishman  in  America  had  become  dead  to  a  sense 
of  duty  to  Ireland. 

*       •       •  * 

"The  prisons  in  Ireland  were  filled,  and  large  numbers  of  Irish 
prisoners  from  the  many  trials  by  Special  Commissions  in  Ireland 
were  sent  to  and  confined  in  the  various  penal  establishments  of 
England.  Deputy  Chief  Organizer  General  William  G.  Halpin 
being  in  prison,  Colonel  Thomas  J.  Kelly  continued  in  charge, 
after  Stephens  abandoned  the  Organization,  and  was  the  author- 
ity which  called  this  Convention  in  1867  in  Manchester. 

"The  position  of  Chief  Executive  of  the  Irish  Republican 
Brotherhood  was  filled  by  the  unanimous  election  of  Colonel 
Thomas  J.  Kelly.  And,  after  a  great  deal  of  thought  was  given 
to  the  necessities  of  the  Home  Organization,  a  plan  was  pre- 
pared by  me  as  Secretary,  and  presented  to  the  Convention  in  the 
form  of  Resolutions,  which  were  passed  by  an  overwhelming  vote. 
The  chief  provisions  of  this  measure  may  be  paraphrased  as  fol- 

"1.  The  Home  Organization  to  be  self-sustaining,  each  mem- 
ber paying  into  the  local  Circle  a  certain  sum  per  week. 

"2.  The  American  officers  to  be  located  in  the  various  popu- 
lous centres,  according  to  the  strength  of  the  organization  in 
each  centre  or  city,  and  to  be  maintained  by  the  funds  of  the 
local  Circle  or  Circles. 

"3.  One  of  the  American  officers  thus  assigned  by  Headquar- 
ters to  any  city  was  to  serve  as  intermediary  through  whom  the 



Executive  could  be  reached  without  delay  by  the  Centres  of  the 
local  Circles. 

"4.  The  honest  and  deceived  members  of  the  'wings'  in  Amer- 
ica, whose  hatred  of  England  was  appealed  to  in  order  to  lead 
them  into  channels  of  effort  which  in  fact  resulted  in  with- 
drawing their  aid  from  the  I.  R.  B.,  were  now  to  be  approached 
and  organized  into  a  new  body — in  America — the  good  men  of 
the  'wings'  in  America  were  to  be  selected  and  formed  into  a 
new  American  body,  working  directly  with  the  Home  Organiza- 
tion. The  new  organization  in  America  to  be  known  as  the 

"These  resolutions  had  other  provisions,  not  necessary  to  cite 
here.  The  fourth  provision  went  into  active  operation  without 
delay,  and  soon  after,  the  Napper  Tandy  Club  was  organized  in 
New  York,  being  the  first  Club  of  the  Clan-na-Gael. 

"After  the  Convention  Colonel  Kelly  continued  his  Headquar- 
ters in  the  City  of  Manchester.  Captain  James  Murphy  was 
placed  in  general  charge  of  Scotland;  Captain  Mackey  acted 
generally  for  southern  Ireland;  Edmund  O'Donovan  was  to  per- 
form like  duty  for  northern  Ireland,  and  Captain  Ricard  O'Sulli- 
van  Burke  was  in  a  general  way  to  give  attention  to  England  and 
Wales  and  to  any  special  duty  arising. 

"Some  officers,  who  had  served  in  the  armies  of  the  United 
States  in  various  ranks,  commissioned  and  non-commissioned, 
were  in  the  cities  in  England.  These  officers  included  Timothy 
Deasy,  who  was  a  Captain  in  Colonel  Cass's  celebrated  Irish 
Regiment,  the  9th  Mass.  Inf.  Vols.;  Captain  Michael  O'Brien, 
who  was  a  civil  employee  of  the  Engineer  Corps  of  the  Army  of 
*  the  Potomac  in  1863  under  Captain  (then  First  Lieutenant)  Ricard 
O'Sullivan  Burke,  subsequently  entering  the  army  and  becoming 
a  non-commissioned  officer;  and  Captain  O'Meagher  Condon,  who 
had  served  from  late  in  1862  to  June,  1864,  a  non-commissioned 
officer,  being  First  Sergeant  at  latter  date  in  K  Company,  164th 
Regiment,  N.  Y.  Vol.  Infantry.  Captain  Deasy  was  quite  familiar 
with  the  conditions  in  Liverpool,  and  it  was  intended  to  place 
him  in  that  city;  Captain  Edward  O'Meagher  Condon  was  made 
Intermediary  for  Manchester. 

"If  there  was  anything  necessary  to  convince  one  of  the  in- 
sincerity of  Roberts  and  Sweeny  in  their  'war'  on  Canada,  their 
sending  agents  into  England  to  win  recruits  for  their  cause  would 
readily  supply  it.  These  agents  asked  Irishmen  in  London  to 
join  the  party  going  to  capture  Canada  so  that  Ireland  might  thus 
be  made  free!  Could  anything  be  more  absurd?  And  yet  two 
Circles  in  London,  Notting  Hill  and  Camberwell,  could  not  at 



first  see  any  absurdity  in  it,  for  they  joined  the  cause  these 
agents  represented.  This  action  of  these  two  Circles  hurried  me 
at  once  to  London.  I  had  only  just  got  back  to  England  from  a 
stay  of  twelve  days  in  Paris,  waiting  there  that  time  for  the 
return  of  our  agent,  Dr.  Hamilton  (William  O'Donovan) ,  who 
was  absent  from  the  Hotel  de  Suez,  Rue  de  Four,  St.  Germain. 
I  met  the  officers  of  these  two  Circles  in  the  presence  of  the 
agents  of  the  'Canadian'  wing  and  after  discussion  the  two  Circles 
came  back  to  their  duty,  rejecting  the  Irish  freedom-via- 
Canada  doctrine.  I  had  barely  finished  healing  this  trouble  in 
London  when  a  telegram  reached  me  advising  me  of  serious 
trouble  in  Manchester  and  asking  me  to  go  there  at  once.  I 
started  to  Manchester  by  the  first  train  but  had  some  unavoid- 
able delays  to  meet  before  I  got  there. 

"I  found  on  arriving  in  Manchester  a  very  serious  situation. 
The  Chief  Executive,  Colonel  Thomas  J.  Kelly,  and  one  of  the 
two  American  officers,  Captain  Timothy  Deasy,  were  in  the  hands 
of  the  enemy.  They  were  arrested  the  night  of  September  10 
or  rather  the  morning  of  September  11,  1867,  after  leaving  a 
meeting  called  by  the  Circle  officers  of  Manchester.  On  the 
morning  of  September  11  both  officers  were  brought  before  a 
magistrate  and  remanded  for  a  week.  The  Centres  and  Sub- 
Centres  of  the  local  organizations  had  made  great  progress  in 
the  procuring  of  arms  and  ammunition  and  otherwise  getting 
ready  to  rescue  these  two  officers  should  I  so  direct,  when  I 
had  looked  the  situation  over.  After  I  got  to  Manchester  Captain 
Michael  O'Brien,  who  had  served  in  a  civil  capacity  with  me  in 
the  Engineer  Corps  of  the  army,  and  later  with  me  in  England  in 
1866,  gave  me  complete  information  as  to  the  local  situation. 

"On  the  evening  of  September  17,  a  final  meeting  prior  to  any 
action  was  called.  At  this  meeting  the  following  men  of  the 
local  Circles  volunteered  to  undertake  the  rescue: 

"James  Lavery,  John  Neary,  Thomas  O'Bolger,  Peter  Ryan, 
William  Melvin,  Michael  Larkin,  Timothy  Featherstone,  Charles 
Moorehouse,  Peter  Rice,  William  Phillip  Allen,  Patrick  Bloom- 
field,  John  Stoneham,  Joseph  Keeley,  John  Ryan,  James  Cahill, 
and  the  two  American  officers,  Michael  O'Brien  and  Edward 
O'Meagher  Condon. 

"From  these  volunteers  I  called  for  two  men  who  were  willing 
to  undertake  extra  hazardous  duty.  Of  those  who  volunteered 
I  selected  Thomas  O'Bolger  and  Peter  Ryan.  I  advised  the 
larger  body  as  to  their  conduct  at  and  after  the  rescue,  particu- 
larly dwelling  upon  the  condition  governing  duty  that  no  life 
was  to  be  taken  unless  the  taking  of  it  was  necessary  to  the 



success  of  the  rescue,  then  it  was  to  be  taken  without  an  in- 
stant's hesitation.  After  arranging  to  have  the  main  body  of 
the  volunteers  meet  at  a  designated  place  to  get  more  arms  and 
ammunition  in  the  morning,  and  privately  instructing  the  two 
special  volunteers  as  to  the  duty  they  were  to  do,  and  directing 
them  to  meet  me  near  the  Court  House  at  which  our  officers 
(the  prisoners)  would  again  appear  on  September  18,  the  meeting 
was  closed  and  all  went  quietly  to  their  homes. 

"These  names  here  given  I  take  from  a  report  of  the  rescue 
made  by  Thomas  O'Bolger  to  me  some  years  afterwards.  I  had 
no  relations  with  the  local  men,  dealing  with  the  resident  Inter- 
mediary in  Manchester  and  meeting  the  officers  of  the  Circles 
in  any  locality  only  on  special  occasions  like  that  which  car- 
ried me  to  London  to  the  officers  of  the  Notting  Hill  and  Cam- 
berwell  Circles  before  stated. 

"On  the  morning  of  September  18  the  main  body  of  the  vol- 
unteers, gradually  by  ones  and  twos  got  to  the  point  selected 
for  the  supply  of  more  arms  and  ammunition,  and  further  in- 
structions were  privately  given  Captains  Michael  O'Brien  and 
Edward  O'Meagher  Condon — the  latter  I  charged  with  provid- 
ing everything  necessary  to  get  our  officers  quickly  out  of  the 
van  and  into  our  own  hands,  and  to  see  them  away  to  a  place 
or  places  of  security.  To  Captain  O'Brien  I  gave  the  duty  of 
using  our  little  force  to  cover  the  retreat  of  our  rescued  officers, 
to  hold  the  police  and  the  soldiers,  who  it  afterwards  appeared 
had  individually  joined  them,  and  the  mob  back;  to  spread  our 
boys  out  on  the  right  and  left  and  prevent  the  vast  mob  from 
flanking  them,  and  while  doing  this  to  retire  at  intervals,  while 
fronting  the  enemy,  the  flankers  passing  through  the  centre 
of  the  front,  while  those  who  held  the  centre  moved  outward 
to  the  rear,  taking  a  new  position  on  the  flanks.  The  force 
covering  the  retreat  to  continue  fronting  the  enemy  while  re- 
tiring until  the  rescued  officers  had  disappeared,  then  the  cov- 
ering force  was  to  get  away. 

"After  passing  up  Hyde  Road  beyond  the  railway  crossing, 
selecting  the  part  just  beyond  the  railroad  bridge  as  the  point 
of  attack  on  Hyde  Road,  arranging  as  to  signals,  and  direct- 
ing that  the  main  body  of  the  rescue  party  should  avoid  any 
grouping,  coming  together  only  when  the  signal  was  given,  I 
went  to  the  front  of  the  Court  House  and  made  my  headquarters 
at  the  Red  Lion  Inn,  nearly  opposite  the  Court  House.  O'Bolger 
and  Ryan  were  sent  into  the  Court  House  to  watch  everything 
that  took  place,  and  one  of  them  at  a  time  was  quietly  to  go 
out  and  advise  me  of  the  progress  of  affairs,  coming  to  the  Red 
Lion  Inn  for  that  purpose.    I  was  informed  by  both  O'Bolger 



and  Ryan  of  their  purpose  to  shoot  John  J.  Corydon  should  he 
appear  to  identify  Colonel  Kelly  and  Captain  Deasy.  I  said  that 
while  the  death  of  the  informer,  Corydon,  was  much  to  be  de- 
sired, yet  taking  his  life  under  existing  circumstances,  laudable 
and  patriotic  as  it  would  otherwise  be,  would  now  work  the  ruin 
and  failure  of  the  purpose  then  in  hand,  as  the  enemy  naturally 
would  safeguard  the  prisoners,  Colonel  Kelly  and  Captain  Deasy, 
by  sending  so  strong  a  force  with  the  van  that  our  little  handful 
of  men,  poorly  armed  as  they  were,  would  be  entirely  incapable 
of  overcoming  such  a  force  as  would  be  escorting  the  van  in  the 
event  of  the  alarm  of  the  enemy  being  excited  by  the  killing  in 
the  heart  of  the  Court  House  of  the  scoundrel,  Corydon. 

"About  three  o'clock  I  was  advised  of  the  identification  by  a 
police  official  of  our  two  men  and  their  remand  to  jail,  and  the 
passing  of  the  prisoners  into  the  van.  O'Bolger  and  Ryan  were  to 
watch  the  actual  entrance  into  the  van  of  the  two  prisoners, 
then  precede  the  van  in  a  cab  and  give  the  signal  agreed  upon. 
A  great  crowd  of  people  had  gathered  in  the  area  in  front  of 
the  Court  House.  A  little  earlier,  when  the  crowd  was  not  so 
large,  I  passed  among  them,  keeping  my  eye  on  the  Court  House 
door  watching  for  the  exit  of  either  of  my  two  men,  but  I  soon 
returned  to  my  headquarters,  as  I  thought  the  detectives  by  the 
Court  House  were  showing  interest  in  the  crowd.  Going  through 
the  crowd  just  after  the  van  had  passed  out  to  go  to  Bellevue 
Jail  up  on  Hyde  Road,  to  get  a  cab,  I  noticed  quite  a  commotion 
in  the  crowd,  which  in  the  judgment  of  the  officials  was  made 
up  of  friends  of  the  two  Irish  officers.  Immediately  the  detec- 
tives caught  at  several  of  the  crowd,  myself  among  them,  but 
greater  commotion  near  me  alarmed  the  officers  in  plain  clothes 
and  I  managed  to  break  away  from  them,  dodging  through  the 
crowd,  and  made  my  escape  by  side  streets.  When  I  had  got  far 
enough  away  to  consider  myself  secure,  I  sought  a  cab,  and  find- 
ing one  drove  towards  Hyde  Road,  and  then  along  it  towards  the 
selected  point.  When  I  had  gone  some  distance  towards  the 
railroad  bridge  crossing  Hyde  Road  crowds  of  people  were  in  the 
road,  and  going  to  where  the  crowd  was  thickest,  I  got  out  of  the 
cab,  and  soon  learned  from  the  excited  people  that  'the  Fenians 
had  shot  a  whole  lot  of  people  and  murdered  the  police.'  Fur- 
ther inquiries,  made  as  a  newspaper  man,  soon  gave  me  the  in- 
formation of  the  success  of  the  rescue.  *  *  *  I  then  drove 
back  and  went  to  my  headquarters  for  the  balance  of  the  day, 
No.  16  Acton  Street — the  premises  of  John  Nolan,  the  head  of  the 
Ancient  Order  of  Hibernians — where  I  received  information  as  to 
details  of  the  arrests  made  by  the  terror-stricken  police  and  the 
safety  of  the  rescued  officers.    I  left  these  headquarters  Sep- 



tember  19,  the  next  day,  and  went  to  the  same  premises  where 
Colonel  Kelly  was  concealed,  as  his  former  headquarters  was  no 
longer  considered  safe,  and  was  glad  to  give  up  to  him  my  acting 
appointment  to  his  duties  which  at  the  request  of  the  head 
officers  in  Ireland  and  Scotland  I  had  assumed  until  a  conven- 
tion would  decide  upon  his  successor.  He  was  now  his  own  suc- 
cessor, entirely  owing  to  the  energy,  loyalty  and  courage  of  the 
officers  of  the  local  Circles — that  splendid  group  of  the  I.  R.  B. 
who,  by  their  gallantry  made  themselves  immortal. 

"In  the  actual  fact  of  the  rescue,  the  initiative  was  taken  by 
James  Cahill  in  killing  one  of  the  horses  which  brought  the  van 
to  a  stop. 

"During  the  rescue  itself,  James  Lavery,  Thomas  O'Bolger, 
Peter  Ryan,  Peter  Rice  and  James  Cahill  were  most  energetic. 
Lavery  was  the  senior  officer  of  the  local  Circle,  and  was  every- 
where encouraging  and  directing.  Captain  Michael  O'Brien  and 
Larkin  had  strolled  up  Hyde  Road,  loitering  around  waiting  for 
the  arrival  of  the  van.  Hearing  the  shooting  they  hurried  back 
and  Captain  O'Brien  rushed  in  to  cover  the  retreat  of  the  two 
rescued  officers  in  which  Thomas  O'Bolger,  Larkin  and  a  few 
others  of  the  gallant  little  band  were  engaged.  In  this  they  suc- 
ceeded, but  Larkin  and  Captain  O'Brien  were  arrested,  as  was 
also  young  Allen,  and  were  sacrificed  to  satisfy  that  English  law 
which  their  heroism  had  humiliated  and  defied.  Whatever  honor 
may  flow  to  the  Irish  Cause  from  the  gallantry  shown  at  the 
Manchester  Rescue  is  owing  entirely  to  the  little  band  of  the 
Irish  Republican  Brotherhood  who  actually  accomplished  it.  I 
only  gave  form  and  direction  to  that  force  which  their  loyalty 
and  value  created." 




Rescue  of  Kelly  and  Deasy  Threw  England  Into  a  Panic — 
Shooting  of  Sergeant  Brett  Purely  Accidental — Trial  of 
Allen,  Larkin  and  O'Brien  a  Travesty  of  Justice — Their 
Execution  a  Judicial  Murder. 

The  Rescue  of  Kelly  and  Deasy  from  the  prison  van  in  Man- 
chester on  September  18,  1867,  was  the  boldest  stroke  of  the 
Fenian  Movement.  It  threw  England  into  a  panic  of  fear  and 
rage  and  gave  her  warning  that  the  movement  she  thought  she 
had  completely  crushed  in  March  was  still  alive  and  its  spirit 

In  broad  daylight  a  handful  of  Irishmen  in  the  heart  of  one 
of  England's  biggest  cities,  with  a  military  garrison  and  a  large 
police  force,  wrested  from  her  grasp  two  of  their  Chiefs  whom 
she  was  about  to  send  to  convict  cells,  got  them  safely  away 
and  enabled  them  to  reach  the  United  States  while  a  big  reward 
was  offered  for  their  recapture  and  England's  whole  detective 
force  was  searching  for  them.  The  reward  would  have  been  a 
fortune  to  some  of  those  who  knew  the  whereabouts  of  the 
rescued  men,  but  the  offer  tempted  none  of  them  to  give  the 
Government  a  scintilla  of  information. 

Only  four  of  the  twenty-three  rescuers  were  arrested  (with 
several  others  who  had  nothing  to  do  with  it) .  Three  of  them — 
William  Philip  Allen,  Michael  Larkin  and  Michael  O'Brien — 
were  hanged  after  a  trial  that  was  a  travesty  of  justice  which 
made  their  execution  a  judicial  murder.  England  hoped  to  ter- 
rorize the  Irish  by  taking  Irish  lives,  but  she  only  fanned  the 
spirit  of  patriotism  into  a  new  flame  and  brought  thousands 
of  recruits  to  the  organization. 

Colonel  Ricard  O'Sullivan  Burke,  whose  account  of  the  re- 
organization of  the  movement  is  quoted  in  the  previous  chapter, 
describes  the  preparations  for  the  Rescue  and  gives  the  names  of 
the  rescuers.  Most  of  the  latter  were  in  New  York  and  a  few  in 
Boston  when  I  landed  in  January,  1871,  and  I  got  the  whole  in- 
side history  from  them. 

Kelly  and  Deasy  were  arrested  while  returning  late  at  night 
from  a  courtmartial  on  Edward  O'Meagher  Condon,  who  had 
very  badly  misconducted  himself,  but  who  later  claimed  the 





chief  credit  for  the  Rescue,  asserting  that  he  was  in  command. 
His  claim  was  absurd,  but  repetition  for  half  a  century  has 
deceived  many  thousands  of  Irishmen. 

The  rescuers  were  handicapped  by  lack  of  implements  to 
break  open  the  door  of  the  van.  Condon  was  assigned  the  duty 
of  procuring  a  sledge,  crowbar  and  a  set  of  burglar's  tools,  but  he 
failed  to  bring  them. 

They  were  trying  to  batter  the  door  open  with  stones  and 
chunks  of  wood,  which  they  found  lying  around,  when  one  of 
them  got  the  notion  that  he  could  shoot  the  lock  open  by  firing 
into  the  keyhole.  He  was  a  very  small,  but  sturdy  Dublin  man 
named  Peter  Rice,  who  later  lived  many  years  in  New  York  and 
died  in  his  native  city.  Police  Sergeant  Brett,  in  charge  of  the 
prisoners,  had  a  seat  next  the  door  and,  being  unable  to  see 
clearly  through  the  slats  (which  sloped  downward)  was  peering 
out  through  the  keyhole.  Rice,  who,  of  course,  could  not  see 
him,  fired  his  revolver  through  the  keyhole;  the  bullet  passed 
into  Brett's  eye  and  killed  him — a  fact  of  which  Rice  was  igno- 
rant. This  was  the  "murder"  for  which  Allen,  Larkin  and 
O'Brien  were  hanged. 

One  of  the  women  prisoners  took  the  keys  out  of  Brett's 
pocket  and  dropped  them  through  the  slats  to  the  rescuing 
party  outside.  They  promptly  opened  the  door,  let  the  two  of- 
ficers out  and  the  Rescue  was  accomplished.  They  were  not 
provided  even  with  files  to  cut  the  handcuffs  and  the  rescued 
men  had  to  be  taken,  still  fettered,  across  a  vacant  lot  and  over 
a  wall  to  another  road,  from  where  they  were  quickly  taken  to 
a  place  of  safety. 

Nothing  that  had  ever  occurred  in  England  created  such  a  wild 
panic.  The  English  people  lost  their  heads  and  went  into  a 
frenzy  of  rage  against  the  Irish.  Every  individual  Irishman  in 
England  was  made  a  special  object  of  attack,  as  if  he  were  person- 
ally responsible  for  what  had  occurred  in  Manchester.  In  Man- 
chester itself  Irishmen  were  beaten  by  mobs,  and  they  were  dis- 
charged by  wholesale  from  their  employment.  Thousands  of 
special  constables  were  enrolled  and  a  house  to  house  search 
was  carried  out  for  those  suspected  of  participation  in  the 
Rescue.  A  large  number  of  Irishmen  were  arrested  on  suspi- 
cion,— most  of  them  merely  because  they  were  Irish,  and  others 
who  just  happened  to  be  in  the  neighborhood  at  the  time  of  the 

The  English  have  a  hobby  for  describing  themselves  as  "calm" 
when  they  have  completely  lost  control  of  their  nerves,  and  this 
mythical  "calmness"  figured  extensively  in  the  newspaper  de- 



scriptions  of  the  situation  in  Manchester  following  the  Rescue. 
Men  with  ordinary  common  sense  would  have  known  that  the 
effort  of  the  Fenians  could  not  be  repeated  in  the  case  of  the 
men  arrested  for  connection  with  the  Rescue,  but  every  act  of 
the  authorities  was  based  on  the  absurd  belief  that  Manchester 
was  filled  with  armed  groups  of  Irishmen  ready  to  repeat  at 
any  moment  the  stroke  delivered  under  the  railway  arch,  when, 
as  a  matter  of  fact,  every  man  who  had  any  hand  in  the  Rescue 
had  sought  safety  in  flight  from  that  city. 

Tom  O'Bolger,  a  Kilkenny  shoemaker,  who  was  one  of  the 
boldest  and  most  resourceful  men  in  the  Rescue  party,  made  his 
way  to  London  immediately  and  clipped  from  the  Times  and  put 
in  a  scrap-book  the  despatches  describing  the  situation  in  Man- 
chester. They  afford  most  interesting  reading  and  throw  a  com- 
ical light  on  the  "calmness"  of  the  English  people.  Instead  of 
being  "calm",  they  were  in  as  great  a  panic  as  if  a  foreign  army 
had  captured  Liverpool  and  was  marching  on  Manchester.  The 
horses  drawing  the  prison  van  conveying  the  five  men,  who 
were  charged  with  the  "murder"  of  Brett,  from  Salford  Jail  to 
the  court  house  in  Manchester  went  at  a  fast  trot,  apparently 
to  avoid  being  ambushed,  and  a  company  of  Highlanders  form- 
ing the  escort  had  to  go  at  the  double  quick  to  keep  up  with  it. 
Why  cavalry  was  not  selected  for  the  escort  is  one  of  those 
mysteries  that  are  never  absent  from  British  military  operations. 

Angry  mobs  surrounded  the  courthouse  and  filled  the  streets 
in  the  immediate  neighborhood;  they  hooted  and  insulted  the 
prisoners.  All  mobs  are  more  or  less  cowardly,  but  English  mobs 
are  both  cowardly  and  cruel.  Their  temper  towards  the  men  on 
trial  showed  that  they  would  lynch  them  if  they  could  get  at 
them.  The  whole  people,  including  the  judges  and  the  jurymen, 
were  inflamed  by  passion  and  anti-Irish  prejudice,  and  the 
Bench  took  no  pains  to  conceal  it.  The  manly,  defiant  bearing 
of  the  men  in  the  dock  was  bitterly  resented  and  the  law  was 
strained  against  them  whenever  a  point  of  law  had  to  be  de- 
cided. Ernest  Jones,  the  Chartist  leader,  who  defended  them, 
was  a  fine  type  of  Englishman  and  an  able  lawyer,  but  he  quickly 
realized  that  legal  talent  and  evidence  as  to  the  facts  of  the 
case  were  of  no  avail  against  inflamed  hatred  and  passion  on 
the  bench  and  in  the  jury  box. 

The  evidence  against  the  indicted  men  all  came  from  the 
policemen  and  the  thieves  and  fallen  women  who  were  in  the 
van.  Everyone  brought  before  them  was  promptly  identified  as 
one  of  the  rescuing  party.  Among  them  was  a  marine  named 
Maguire,  who  was  on  furlough  and  happened  to  be  in  the  neigh- 
borhood at  the  time  of  the  Rescue.   He  had  a  strong  Irish  ac- 



cent,  and  that  was  enough.  He  was  fully  identified  by  those 
denizens  of  the  prison  and  duly  convicted  by  the  jury.  The  re- 
porters at  the  trial  were  struck  by  the  utter  improbability  of 
Maguire  having  anything  to  do  with  the  Rescue  and  they  joined 
in  a  petition  to  the  Home  Secretary  pleading  for  his  release. 
He  had  been  convicted  on  exactly  the  same  evidence  as  Allen, 
Larkin  and  O'Brien,  who  were  later  executed,  and  Edward 
O'Meagher  Condon,  whose  sentence  of  death  was  commuted  to 
penal  servitude  for  life,  through  the  intervention  of  the  Ameri- 
can Government  because  he  was  a  citizen  of  the  United  States. 
But  the  evidence  that  was  so  defective  in  Maguire's  case  as  to 
procure  his  release  was  quite  sufficient  to  hang  the  other  three. 

The  case  of  Patrick  Meledy  was  even  more  striking.  Meledy, 
who  was  a  vain,  light-headed  fellow  of  no  character,  a  Dublin 
man,  was  in  London  at  the  time  of  the  Rescue.  He  had  a  hobby 
for  amateur  theatricals,  and  he  foolishly  told  some  of  his  inti- 
mates that  he  had  taken  part  in  the  Rescue.  The  story  reached 
the  police,  he  was  arrested,  taken  to  Manchester  and  "identified" 
fully  by  the  criminal  witnesses  as  one  of  those  they  had  seen 
taking  part  in  the  attack  on  the  van.  He  was  convicted,  spent 
ten  years  in  prison,  and  this  gave  him  a  character  among 
Nationalists  in  America  which  he  used  to  good  advantage  in 
many  questionable  financial  operations  on  a  small  scale.  He  had 
never  been  in  Manchester  in  his  life  and  owed  his  conviction  to 
his  loose  tongue. 

Allen,  Larkin  and  O'Brien  were  hanged  on  November  23rd, 
1867.  Their  names  are  enshrined  in  the  hearts  of  the  Irish 
people,  and  they  shall  ever  be  gratefully  remembered  as  "The 
Manchester  Martyrs". 



Attempt  to  Rescue  Colonel  Ric  Burke  by  Making  Breach  in 
Prison  Wall  Failed — Explosion  Unfortunately  Resulted  in 
Deaths  Among  Women  and  Children  on  the  Street— Daring 
Effort  Had  Good  Political  Results  Later. 

Not  long  after  the  Manchester  Rescue,  Colonel  Ricard  O'Sul- 
livan  Burke  was  arrested.  He  was  charged  with  having  pur- 
chased arms  in  England  for  the  Fenians,  and  was  lodged  in 
Clerkenwell  Prison,  London. 

There  were  two  wings  of  the  Irish  Republican  Brotherhood 
in  London  at  that  time.  One  of  these  had  been  organized  earlier 
that  year  by  Ric  Burke  himself  in  conjunction  with  Colonel 
Thomas  J.  Kelly,  and  the  other  by  James  J.  O'Kelly  and  J.  I.  C. 
Clarke.  The  Centre  of  one  of  the  Circles  of  the  Burke-Kelly 
group  was  a  young  man  named  Jeremiah  O'Sullivan  who  was 
born  near  Cahirdaniel,  County  Kerry,  in  1845. 

Under  the  command  of  Captain  James  Murphy,  O'Sullivan 
managed  to  get  into  communication  with  Ric  Burke  in  Clerken- 
well Prison  and  arrangements  were  made  for  his  rescue.  The 
yard  in  which  the  prisoners  exercised  at  a  certain  time  each  day 
was  separated  from  the  street  only  by  a  high  wall,  and  the 
rescuers  planned  to  blow  a  hole  in  the  latter  large  enough  to 
enable  Burke  to  rush  through  to  his  waiting  friends  outside. 

It  was  a  priest  who  supplied  the  money  to  buy  the  powder 
(dynamite  had  not  then  become  known),  but  they  bought  sev- 
eral hundred  pounds  of  it, — far  too  much.  A  smaller  quantity 
would  have  been  quite  enough  to  make  the  hole  and  would  not 
have  caused  the  loss  of  life  among  women  and  children,  which 
actually  took  place.  There  was  a  British  spy  among  the  Fenians, 
and  the  information  he  gave  resulted  in  Burke  being  placed  in  a 
cell  at  the  time  set  for  the  explosion,  so  that  all  the  trouble 
and  loss  of  life  was  rendered  useless.  O'Sullivan  brought  up  the 
powder  in  a  barrel  which  he  wheeled  in  a  pushcart,  but  when 
the  explosion  took  place,  the  rescuers  discovered  at  once  that 
Burke  was  not  among  the  prisoners  in  the  yard,  so  they  had  to 
make  their  escape  as  best  they  could  in  the  confusion  and  panic 
which  prevailed  in  the  vicinity  of  the  prison.  This  was  in  De- 
cember, 1867. 




O'Sullivan  was  a  lithe  young  man  of  athletic  build,  a  fine 
runner  and  jumper,  and  to  these  qualities  he  owed  his  escape. 
There  was  a  heavily  laden  brewery  wagon  passing  at  the  time 
and  the  driver,  a  big,  corpulent  man,  dropped  from  his  seat  and 
threw  his  arms  around  O'Sullivan  as  he  was  running  past,  cry- 
ing: "You  are  a  thief." 

O'Sullivan  told  him  he  was  not  a  thief,  but  the  driver  said  he 
would  hold  him  anyhow  for  the  police,  who  were  running  up  at 
the  time.  O'Sullivan  said:  "The  devil  you  will",  reached  to  his 
pocket  with  his  right  hand,  pulled  out  a  big  horsepistol  (of  which 
he  had  two) ,  and  hit  him  a  hard  blow  on  the  head  with  the  butt. 
The  man  dropped  to  the  ground  and  never  got  up  again.  His 
blood  had  been  poisoned  by  drinking  ale  too  freely  and  the  blow 
killed  him. 

The  police  were  very  close  on  O'Sullivan  by  this  time,  but  he 
dashed  off  and  soon  outdistanced  them.  They  followed  in  relays 
however,  and  kept  him  in  sight.  He  was  a  younger  man  than  any 
of  his  pursuers,  in  perfect  condition,  and  he  knew  the  neighbor- 
hood, so  he  had  every  advantage  over  them.  He  ran  five  miles 
without  stopping  and  at  one  point  had  to  cross  a  stream  eighteen 
feet  wide.  He  cleared  it  easily,  but  the  policemen  were  unable 
to  make  it.  One  of  them  who  attempted  the  jump  fell  into  the 
water  and  by  the  time  he  had  clambered  up  the  opposite  bank 
O'Sullivan  was  safe,  and  all  that  the  police, — who  were  armed 
with  revolvers  at  that  time,  on  account  of  the  Manchester 
Rescue, — could  do  was  to  fire  several  shots  after  him,  all  of  which 

After  a  short  time  spent  in  concealment  among  trusted 
friends,  O'Sullivan  took  passage  for  America  under  a  false  name, 
and  landed  safely  in  New  York,  where  he  remained  until  his 
death.  He  was  a  very  healthy  man  of  temperate  habits,  and 
would  undoubtedly  have  lived  many  years  longer  but  for  two 
accidents  which  happened  to  him  while  at  work.  The  first  of 
these  necessitated  the  amputation  of  one  of  his  toes  and  he  nar- 
rowly escaped  blood-poisoning.  Some  years  later  he  was  hurt 
internally  by  another  accident,  cancer  developed  and  he  suffered 
greatly  for  a  considerable  time  before  his  death. 

Mr.  O'Sullivan  joined  the  Clan-na-Gael  soon  after  his  arrival 
in  New  York  and  remained  an  active  member  until  illness  pre- 
vented him  from  attending  meetings.  He  belonged  to  the  Bunker 
Hill  Club  in  the  Bronx  and  was  also  a  member  of  the  I.  R.  B. 
Veterans'  Association.  He  took  a  vigorous  part  in  the  Land 
League  until  Parnell  was  deposed  from  the  leadership,  when,  like 
most  of  the  old  Fenians,  he  dropped  out  and  confined  his  activi- 



ties  to  the  Clan-na-Gael  until  the  Friends  of  Irish  Freedom  was 
organized.  He  was  a  fluent  Gaelic  speaker  and  a  very  well  read 

He  died  on  Monday,  November  6,  1922,  and  was  interred  in 
Calvary  Cemetery. 

While  the  deaths  among  the  English  civilians  was  regrettable, 
and  though  the  immediate  purpose  of  this  dynamite  operation 
failed  of  accomplishment,  the  Clerkenwell  incident,  coming  so 
soon  after  the  daring  rescue  at  Manchester,  scared  the  Govern- 
ment and  people  of  England  and  had  good  results  later. 

When  William  E.  Gladstone  in  1869  introduced  the  Bill  to  dis- 
establish the  Protestant  Church  in  Ireland  (in  which  the  Irish 
people  were  not  particularly  interested)  he  admitted  in  his 
speech  that  his  new  outlook  on  Irish  affairs  was  due  to  the  in- 
tensity of  Fenianism.  His  remarks  on  that  occasion  proved  a 
stronger  argument  in  favor  of  physical  force — and  even  of  Ter- 
rorism— on  the  part  of  Ireland  to  secure  justice  and  freedom, 
than  any  Irishman  ever  made. 



Expedition  that  Brought  Humiliation  to  England  Organized  and 
Financed  by  the  Clan-na-Gael — Six  Members  of  Fenian 
Organization  in  British  Army,  Sentenced  to  Penal  Servi- 
tude for  Life,  Taken  from  an  English  Prison  in  Western 
Australia  After  They  had  Served  Ten  Years — Irish  Skill  and 
Yankee  Grit  Landed  Them  as  Free  Men  on  Friendly  Shores 
of  America. 

The  detailed  story  of  the  "Catalpa  Rescue"  was  published  by 
me  in  the  Gaelic  American  in  1904.  Weekly  instalments  appeared 
from  July  16  to  the  end  of  October  of  that  year,  so  that  the 
narrative  as  then  written  is  entirely  too  long  to  reproduce  here. 
But,  as  most  of  the  principal  actors  in  the  Catalpa  incident 
were  active  participants  in  the  Fenian  organization  of  '65  and 
'66  in  Ireland,  this  volume  would  not  be  complete  without  a 
recital  of  the  most  interesting  features  of  the  Rescue. 

The  last  batch  of  Fenian  prisoners  tried  in  the  civil  courts 
from  1865  to  1867  were  released  from  prison  in  1871,  on  condi- 
tion that  they  reside  out  of  Ireland.  These  included  the  men 
who  under  James  Stephens  had  been  instrumental  in  organizing 
a  strong  section  of  the  Fenian  organization  in  the  British  army, 
but  the  convicted  soldiers  whom  they  induced  to  join  were  still 
held  prisoners,  most  of  them  at  Fremantle,  Western  Australia. 
Gladstone,  who  was  Premier  of  England  at  the  time,  had  yielded 
to  a  strong  pressure  of  public  opinion,  brought  about  by  the  Am- 
nesty agitation  led  by  Isaac  Butt,  George  Henry  Moore  and  John 
Nolan,  and  wanted  to  release  all  the  prisoners,  but  a  character- 
istic English  reason  prevented  it.  The  Duke  of  Cambridge,  Com- 
mander-in-Chief of  the  British  army,  interposed  an  objection 
against  the  military  prisoners  and  his  word  was  law  with  his 
august  cousin  Queen  Victoria.  Releasing  these  Fenian  soldiers, 
he  said,  would  be  subversive  of  discipline  in  the  army,  and  as  the 
duke  was  a  great  soldier,  as  soldiers  go  near  the  top  of  the  army 
in  England,  that  settled  it.  He  had  won  distinction  in  the 
Crimea  by  promptly  falling  from  his  horse  at  the  opening  of  the 
battle  of  the  Alma  and  had  to  nurse  a  dislocated  shoulder  at 
home  in  England  during  the  balance  of  the  war.  But  Cambridge 
knew  all  about  discipline  and  red  tape  and  he  was  quite  sure  it 




would  have  a  bad  effect  on  the  army  to  let  those  Fenian  fel- 
lows free. 

When  the  released  Fenian  civilian  prisoners  who  had  been 
incarcerated  in  England  (of  whom  I  was  one)  arrived  in  New 
York  in  1871,  a  public  reception  was  given  to  them  under  the  aus- 
pices of  the  Clan-na-Gael,  which  had  then  been  in  existence 
about  four  years,  and  which  at  the  date  I  write  of  included  in  its 
ranks  many  men  from  both  wings  of  the  Fenian  Brotherhood. 
Some  months  later,  a  newspaper  containing  an  account  of  the  re- 
ception, and  the  New  York  address  of  Peter  Curran,  found  its 
way  into  the  prison  at  Fremantle.  Curran  was  the  man  at  whose 
house  in  Dublin  a  picked  body  of  soldiers  had  been  brought  to 
meet  the  famous  Captain  McCafferty  in  1866,  with  a  view  to 
organizing  a  cavalry  corps  under  his  command.  In  due  course  he 
received  the  following  letter  from  Martin  Hogan: 

"Perth,  Western  Australia, 
"May  20th,  1871. 

"My  dear  Friend: 

"In  order  that  you  may  recollect  who  it  is  that  addresses 
you,  you  will  remember  on  the  night  of  January  17th,  1866, 
some  of  the  Fifth  Dragoon  Guards  being  in  the  old  house  in 
Clare  Lane  with  John  Devoy  and  Captain  McCafferty.  I  am 
one  of  that  unfortunate  band  and  am  now  under  sentence 
of  life  penal  servitude  in  one  of  the  darkest  corners  of  the 
earth,  and  as  far  as  we  can  learn  from  any  small  news  that 
chances  to  reach  us,  we  appear  to  be  forgotten,  with  no  pros- 
pect before  us  but  to  be  left  in  hopeless  slavery  to  the  tender 
mercies  of  the  Norman  wolf. 

"But,  my  dear  friend,  it  is  not  my  hard  fate  I  deplore,  for 
I  willingly  bear  it  for  the  cause  of  dear  old  Ireland,  but  I  must 
feel  sad  at  the  thought  of  being  forgotten,  and  neglected  by 
those  more  fortunate  companions  in  enterprise  who  have  suc- 
ceeded in  eluding  the  grasp  of  the  oppressor.  If  I  had  the 
means  I  could  get  away  from  here  any  time.  I  therefore  ad- 
dress you  in  the  hope  that  you  will  endeavor  to  procure  and 
send  me  pecuniary  help  for  that  purpose  and  I  will  soon  be 
with  you. 

"Give  my  love  and  regards  to  all  old  friends — Roantree, 
Devoy,  Burke  (General) ,  McCafferty,  Captain  Holden,  O'Dono- 
van  Rossa,  St.  Clair  and  others,  not  forgetting  yourself  and 
Mrs.,  and  believe  me  that,  even  should  it  be  my  fate  to  perish 
in  this  villainous  dungeon  of  the  world,  the  last  pulse  of  my 
heart  shall  beat  'God  Save  Ireland.' 

"Direct  your  letter  to  Rev.  Father  McCabe,  Fremantle.  Do 
not  put  my  name  on  the  outside  of  the  letter. 

"Yours  truly, 

"Martin  J.  Hogan." 

This  letter  was  at  once  given  to  me,  and  I  promptly  answered 
it.  Most  of  the  evidence  upon  which  the  soldiers  were  convicted 
related  meetings  with  me,  and  I  therefore  felt  that  I,  more  than 
any  man  then  living,  ought  to  do  my  utmost  for  these  Fenian 
soldiers.   But  at  that  time  nothing  could  be  done  except  in  the 



way  of  influencing  opinion  in  the  Clan-na-Gael  in  favor  of  some 
plan  to  effect  their  release,  and  most  men  considered  the  task 
of  releasing  the  prisoners  impossible  of  accomplishment. 

In  a  few  months  another  letter  came  from  Hogan,  and  later, 
one  from  James  Wilson  (of  the  same  regiment),  containing  more 
accurate  and  detailed  descriptions  of  how  the  prisoners  were 
situated,  but  the  plans  proposed  for  rescue  were  wholly  imprac- 
tical. Thomas  McCarthy  Fennell,  who  had  been  released  from 
Australia  several  years  previously  with  the  civilian  prisoners,  was 
the  first  man  in  America  to  suggest  a  practical  idea,  which  was 
to  send  an  American  vessel,  loaded  with  grain  or  some  other 
cargo  and  later  pick  up  the  prisoners.  A  proposition  that  the 
organization  undertake  the  rescue  of  the  prisoners  was  laid  by 
me  in  1872  and  1873  before  the  then  heads  of  the  Clan-na-Gael, 
but  they  doubted  their  ability  to  raise  the  funds. 

So  matters  drifted  until  July  1874,  when  a  Convention  held  in 
Baltimore  decided  to  take  up  the  project.  There  were  sixty-one 
delegates  present  and  as  some  of  them  were  not  at  first  favorable 
to  my  proposal,  they  had  to  be  taken  into  our  confidence  and 
given  such  information  as  to  existing  conditions  in  Western 
Australia  as  would  enable  them  to  judge  what  the  chances  of 
success  might  be  and  induce  them  to  undertake  the  task  of  secur- 
ing the  necessary  voluntary  contributions.  During  the  twelve 
months  that  followed,  a  copy  of  the  resolutions  adopted,  a  copy 
of  Hogan's  letter  and  a  copy  of  the  later  letter  from  Wilson,  had 
of  necessity  to  be  printed  and  circulated  among  the  eighty-six 
branches  of  the  organization  then  existing.  These  were  read  to 
the  members,  with  the  result  that  fully  7,000  men  were  eventually 
aware  of  the  project  on  hand.  That  there  was  then  no  in- 
former or  spy  in  the  organization  is  proved  by  the  fact  that  the 
British  Government  took  absolutely  no  precaution  against  the 
rescue,  and  the  carrying  out  of  it  fell  on  them  "like  a  bolt  from 
the  blue". 

The  Convention  entrusted  the  project  to  a  Committee  of  ten, 
of  which  I  was  chairman,  but  only  five  were  active,  namely: 
James  Reynolds  of  New  Haven,  Conn.;  Patrick  Mahon  of  Roches- 
ter, N.  Y.,  Treasurer;  John  C.  Talbot  of  San  Francisco;  John 
W.  Goff  of  New  York,  and  myself.  In  later  stages,  Dr.  William 
Carroll  of  Philadelphia  was  added.  In  the  course  of  our  work 
we  received  invaluable  co-operation  from  John  Boyle  O'Reilly, 
from  John  Kenealy  of  Los  Angeles,  McCarthy  Fennell  and  others. 

The  raising  of  the  funds  which  eventually  were  ascertained 
to  be  necessary,  was  a  prolonged  and  arduous  job.  In  February, 
1875,  at  which  date  but  a  small  percentage  of  the  money  needed 



had  been  turned  in,  I  on  behalf  of  the  Committee,  and  on  an 
introduction  from  John  Boyle  O'Reilly,  had  interviews  with  Cap- 
tain Henry  C.  Hathaway  in  New  Bedford,  Massachusetts.  Hath- 
away had  been  third  mate  of  the  American  whaling  bark  Gazelle 
on  which  O'Reilly  had  escaped  from  Australia  in  1869,  and  on  his 
recommendation  we  secured  the  co-operation  of  his  son-in-law, 
John  T.  Richardson,  and  Captain  George  S.  Anthony,  both  of 
New  Bedford.  Neither  of  these  three  men  had,  so  far  as  we 
knew,  a  drop  of  Irish  blood  in  his  veins,  but  they  undertook 
the  work  they  were  asked  to  perform  as  readily  as  if  they  had 
been  sworn  Fenians,  and  right  well  did  they  perform  it. 

It  was  finally  decided  to  purchase  a  sailing  vessel,  fit  her  out 
as  a  whaler,  send  her  on  a  cruise  which  should  extend  to  Western 
Australia,  and  there  endeavor  to  get  the  prisoners  aboard.  Hath- 
away pointed  out  that  such  a  ship  could  pay  her  way,  and  even 
make  a  profit  under  favorable  whaling  conditions. 

Accordingly,  the  bark  Catalpa,  then  lying  at  Boston,  was  pur- 
chased by  Richardson  for  $5,250.  Richardson  risked  some  of  his 
personal  funds  in  the  purchase,  and  advanced  $4,000  to  James 
Reynolds — who  was  acting  for  the  Clan-na-Gael — on  a  thirty-day 
note.  This  note  was  duly  redeemed  from  the  money  raised  by  the 

Though  built  originally  as  a  whaler,  the  Catalpa  had  for  some 
years  previously  been  engaged  in  the  West  India  trade,  and 
several  important  changes  were  necessary.  A  blubber  deck  had 
to  be  constructed,  she  had  to  be  coppered,  whaling  boats  had  to 
be  built.  Some  sails,  an  anchor,  a  chronometer,  as  well  as  all 
accessories  for  a  whaling  expedition  such  as  oil,  watercasks,  har- 
poons, bomb-lancers,  medicine  chest,  etc.,  were  also  provided. 
The  outfitting  was  superintended  by  Hathaway  and  Richardson, 
and  as  a  result  of  their  practical  experience  the  job  was  done 
expeditiously  and  cheaply.  I  may  mention  that  the  Catalpa  was 
at  the  outset  examined  for  her  seaworthiness,  etc.,  by  Lieutenant 
Tobin,  a  United  States  Naval  engineer.  Years  later  he  called  on 
me  in  New  York,  told  me  if  he  had  known  the  purpose  for  which 
we  wanted  the  vessel,  he  could  not  have  done  what  he  did,  but 
that  he  was  very  glad  he  did  not  know  and  that  the  expedition 

The  announcement  of  the  Catalpa's  readiness  to  sail  on  April 
27,  1875,  brought  up  the  problem  of  selecting  the  Clan-na-Gael 
man  to  go  aboard.  It  was  decided  that  one  man  only  should  go, 
and  the  final  selection  rested  between  Denis  Duggan  and  Thomas 
Brennan.  Duggan  was  my  choice,  but  Goff  wanted  Brennan. 
At  the  last  moment  James  Reynolds  took  the  responsibility  of  in- 



stalling  Duggan,  but  after  the  vessel  sailed,  it  was  agreed  that 
Brennan  should  join  her  at  Fayal,  Azore  Islands.  On  Brennan's 
arrival  there,  Captain  Anthony  refused  to  ship  him.  Personal 
friends  then  financed  him  to  go  to  Australia,  and  he  eventually 
got  on  the  Catalpa  together  with  the  rescued  men  and  their 
rescuers.  This  matter  of  Brennan,  and  subsequent  developments, 
formed  the  basis  for  controversies  later  which  I  will  not  now 
dwell  on. 

The  selection  by  the  Committee  of  the  man  to  plan  and  effect 
the  actual  getaway  in  Australia  was  the  next  step.  I  desired  to 
go  and  was  assured  of  practically  the  unanimous  support  of  the 
Committee,  but  conditions  arose  with  regard  to  the  raising  of  the 
funds  for  the  whole  expedition  which  made  it  necessary  for  me 
to  remain  in  America.  Furthermore,  my  disappearance  at  that 
time  would  probably  result  in  loose  talk,  with  the  possibility  of 
ruining  all  chances  of  success. 

John  J.  Breslin,  the  man  who  had  liberated  James  Stephens 
from  Richmond  Prison,  had  just  come  from  Boston  to  New  York. 
He  was  familiar  with  the  British  prison  service,  was  a  man  of 
fine  presence,  good  manners,  high  intelligence  and  very  unusual 
decision  of  character.  He  was  ideal  for  the  job,  and,  on  my 
proposal,  was  unanimously  chosen  for  the  chief  command  of  the 
rescue  expedition.  He  proceeded  via  Los  Angeles,  where  he  con- 
sulted with  John  Kenealy,  and  as  requested  by  the  California 
men,  Thomas  Desmond  accompanied  him.  There  were  long 
delays  due  to  embarrassing  financial  disappointments,  but  both 
men  sailed  from  San  Francisco  on  September  13,  and  arrived  at 
Sydney  on  October  15,  1875;  reached  Melbourne  on  October  30, 
then  proceeded  via  Albany  (King  George's  Sound)  to  Fremantle, 
where  they  arrived  on  November  16. 

Breslin,  who  had  travelled  under  the  name  of  James  Collins, 
made  Fremantle  his  headquarters,  and  promptly  got  into  com- 
munication with  the  prisoners  in  whom  he  was  interested.  Before 
leaving  San  Francisco,  he  had  been  furnished  with  a  legal  docu- 
ment from  which  one  might  infer  that  James  Collins  possessed 
large  interests  in  lands  and  mines  in  Nevada  and  other  States  of 
the  Union.  Breslin,  in  his  report,  remarks:  "I  believe  my  West 
Australian  reputation  as  a  millionaire  is  chiefly  due  to  the  fact 
that  this  document  was  'with  intent  to  deceive'  left  loosely  in 
my  room  so  that  it  might  be  read." 

During  the  week  following  Breslin's  arrival  at  Fremantle,  he 
learned  that  William  Foley,  one  of  the  Fenian  ex-prisoners,  was 
at  large  in  the  district.  Through  the  latter,  news  of  Breslin's 
presence  was  conveyed  to  James  Wilson,  as  was  the  method  of 
communication  to  be  employed  between  him  and  Breslin. 



About  the  middle  of  December,  Breslin  actually  visited  the 
Fremantle  prison  in  company  with  two  other  gentlemen,  and 
they  were  shown  all  through  it  by  the  superintendent.  Breslin 
reported  to  us  on  his  return  to  America  that  "he  found  it  to  be 
very  secure  and  well  guarded".  Meantime,  Desmond  found 
employment  at  Perth,  but  kept  in  touch  with  Breslin.  John  King, 
an  old  Fenian,  whom  he  had  met  in  Sydney  and  from  whose 
friend  there  Breslin  received  £200,  had  come  to  Bunbury,  passed 
for  a  gold  miner  under  the  name  of  Jones,  and  remained  to  par- 
ticipate in  the  rescue. 

The  Catalpa  was  late  in  arriving,  and  to  avoid  arousing  sus- 
picion Breslin  made  a  trip  into  the  interior.  When  the  vessel 
finally  reached  Bunbury — the  nearest  port  to  Fremantle  for  mer- 
chant ships — on  March  28,  1876,  Breslin  went  there  to  confer  with 
Captain  Anthony.  His  plan  was  to  get  the  prisoners  from  Fre- 
mantle to  a  point  on  the  coast  20  miles  south,  named  Rocking- 
ham; the  Catalpa  to  stand  well  out  to  sea,  and  the  rescue  party 
to  proceed  to  her  in  a  whale  boat.  At  Breslin's  suggestion  Cap- 
tain Anthony  accompanied  him  from  Bunbury  to  Fremantle  on 
the  mail  steamer  Georgette  so  that  he  should  see  the  coast  out- 
side of  Rockingham  and  know  exactly  where  his  ship  should 
wait.  On  arrival  at  Fremantle  they  found  there  the  British  gun 
boat  Convict,  which  had  anchored  on  the  previous  day.  This  was 
disconcerting,  and  the  additional  fact  that  another  gun  boat  was 
expected  soon  at  Fremantle,  caused  Breslin  and  Anthony  to  post- 
pone the  rescue.  In  order  to  justify  the  extended  stay  of  the 
Catalpa  at  Bunbury,  it  was  decided  that  Anthony  should  over- 
haul and  paint  her  in  that  port. 

Before  Anthony  left  Fremantle  a  series  of  camouflaged  tele- 
grams was  arranged  between  himself  and  Collins  (Breslin),  by 
which  Anthony  was  to  be  kept  informed  of  the  gun  boat  situa- 
tion. Finally  it  was  decided  to  make  the  getaway  on  Easter 
Monday,  April  17,  1876. 

Regarding  the  method  of  communication  with  the  Fenian  pris- 
oners it  may  be  well  to  state  that  their  good  conduct  and  length 
of  imprisonment  had  entitled  them  to  the  rank  of  "constable", 
which  enabled  them  to  communicate  with  each  other  with  greater 
ease  and  freedom  than  usually  permitted.  Breslin's  last  remark 
to  the  prisoners  was:  "We  have  money,  arms  and  clothes;  let  no 
man's  heart  fail  him,  for  this  chance  may  never  come  again". 

At  7:30  that  Monday  morning,  Desmond  drove  a  pair  of  horses 
and  trap  out  of  Fremantle;  Breslin,  with  a  similar  outfit,  left  in 
another  direction;  but  both  later  directed  their  course  to  the 



rendezvous  near  the  prison  which  had  been  pre-arranged  with 
the  prisoners. 

After  breakfast,  the  political  prisoners  were  engaged  outside 
the  prison  wall.  Cranston  passed  out  as  if  going  on  a  message, 
and,  having  overtaken  the  warder  who  was  marching  the  work- 
ing party  to  which  Wilson  and  Harrington  belonged,  showed  him 
a  key  and  told  him  he  had  been  sent  to  take  Wilson  and  Har- 
rington to  move  some  furniture  in  the  Governor's  house,  which 
was  the  nearest  point  to  where  they  were  to  meet  Breslin.  The 
warder  told  Wilson  and  Harrington  to  go  with  Cranston,  and 
they  marched  off.  Darragh  took  Hassett  in  the  same  direction  as 
if  going  to  work;  they  were  joined  by  Hogan,  who  made  an  excuse 
for  temporary  absence  to  the  warder  in  charge  of  him. 

The  first  three  got  into  the  trap  with  Desmond  and  drove 
away.  The  others  sat  in  with  Breslin.  In  each  trap  they  had 
three  hats  and  three  coats  which  the  prisoners  donned  promptly. 
Brennan  had  left  for  Rockingham  at  6  A.  M.  King,  well  mounted, 
followed  the  traps. 

The  first  ten  miles  of  the  route  from  Fremantle  to  Rocking- 
ham were  good  for  Western  Australia,  the  next  six  miles  heavy 
and  cut  up,  and  the  remaining  four  a  mere  track,  brush  and 
sand.  The  journey  was  made  in  record  time.  I  now  quote  from 
Breslin's  report: 

"At  half-past  10  A.  M.  we  made  the  beach  and  got  aboard 
the  whale  boat.  The  men  had  been  instructed  to  stow  them- 
selves in  the  smallest  possible  space,  so  as  not  to  interfere 
with  those  at  the  oars,  and  in  a  few  minutes  all  was  ready 
and  the  word  was  given,  'Shove  off,  men;  shove  off.' 

"Now  fairly  afloat  the  word  was:  'Out  oars  and  pull  for 
your  lives!  Pull  as  if  you  were  pulling  after  a  whale!'  The 
boat's  crew  was  somewhat  disconcerted  and  scared  at  the 
sudden  appearance  of  so  many  strangers  armed  with  rifles  and 
revolvers,  and  pulled  badly  at  first,  but  the  voice  of  the  steers- 
man rallied  them,  and  cries:  'Come  down  Mopsa;  come  down, 
you  big  Louis,  Pull,  Toby,  pull.  Give  them  stroke,  Mr.  Silvee. 
What  do  you  say,  men?  Come  down  all  together.  Pull  away, 
my  men,  pull  away,'  soon  warmed  them  to  their  work  and 
they  fell  into  stroke  and  pulled  well. 

"When  about  two  miles  off  shore  we  saw  the  mounted 
police  ride  up  to  the  spot  where  we  had  embarked,  and  then 
slowly  drive  the  horses  and  wagons  we  had  used  up  the  beach 
towards  the  Rockingham  jetty.    *    *  * 

"About  half-past  5  P.  M.,  Toby  raised  the  Catalpa  15  miles 
ahead  of  us,  and  the  men  bent  to  their  oars  in  order  to  get 
as  near  to  her  as  possible  before  dark;  at  half-past  six  we 
had  gained  on  the  ship  and  could  see  her  topsails  quite  plain 
from  the  crests  of  the  waves.  Made  sail  on  the  boat.  At 
this  time  the  weather  had  become  gloomy,  with  rain  squalls, 
and  we  were  pretty  thoroughly  soaked. 

"The  boat  made  good  headway  under  sail  and  we  were 
rapidly  overhauling  the  ship,  carrying  all  sail  and  the  whole 


boat's  crew — sixteen  men  in  all — perched  on  the  weather  gun- 
wale, with  the  water  rushing  in  on  us  from  time  to  time, 
when,  about  seven  o'clock  a  squall  struck  us,  carrying  away 
the  mast,  which  broke  short  off  at  the  thwart,  and,  by  the 
time  we  had  the  mast  and  sail  stowed  away,  the  ship  had  dis- 
appeared in  the  increasing  darkness." 

Breslin's  party  did  not  again  sight  the  Catalpa  until  7  o'clock 
next  morning,  April  18.  Just  at  that  time  they  saw  the  smoke 
of  the  Georgette  as  she  steamed  out  of  Fremantle,  with  all  sail 
set.  It  soon  became  evident  that  she  was  making  for  the 
Catalpa — and  as  to  her  purpose  there  could  be  no  doubt.  The 
occupants  of  Breslin's  whaleboat  took  down  their  sail,  and  the 
Georgette  fortunately  passed  without  seeing  them.  The  Georg- 
ette ran  alongside  the  Catalpa,  and  after  about  10  minutes 
steamed  slowly  away  in  the  same  direction,  but  to  the  amaze- 
ment of  Breslin's  party  the  Catalpa  also  held  on  her  course,  and 
both  kept  increasing  their  distance  from  the  whaleboat.  Some 
three  hours  later,  the  Georgette  headed  back  for  Fremantle,  and 
fortunately  for  those  in  the  boat,  she  kept  in  close  to  the  coast, 
evidently  searching  the  indentations  for  the  refugees. 

The  men  of  the  whaleboat  struggled  on  in  the  course  the 
Catalpa  was  sailing,  although  she  was  fast  receding  from  their 
view,  and  they  began  to  call  her  "the  phantom  ship".  They  kept 
on,  however,  and  about  2  P.  M.  saw  that  the  Catalpa  had  altered 
her  course  and  was  coming  toward  the  whaleboat.  However,  all 
was  not  well  yet.  In  a  few  minutes  the  occupants  of  the  latter 
saw  a  police  cutter  leaving  shore,  and  it  now  became  a  question 
as  to  which  boat  should  reach  the  Catalpa  first.  Breslin's  report 

"At  3  P.  M.  we  ran  up  to  the  Catalpa  on  the  weather  side, 
the  police  boat  being  close  up  on  the  lee  side,  and  scrambled 
on  board  in  double  quick  time.  As  soon  as  my  feet  struck  the 
deck  over  the  quarter  rail,  Mr.  Smith,  the  first  mate,  called 
out  to  me:  'What  shall  I  do  now,  Mr.  Collins?  What  shall  I 
do?'  I  replied:  'Hoist  the  flag  and  stand  out  to  sea.'  And 
never  was  a  manoeuvre  executed  in  a  more  prompt  and  sea- 
manlike manner.  The  police  boat  was  dropping  alongside.  As 
we  went  past,  I  stepped  to  the  rail  and  kissed  my  hand  to  the 
gentlemen  who  had  lost  the  race. 

"Twenty-eight  hours  in  an  open  boat,  with  a  liberal  allow- 
ance of  rain  and  seawater,  cramped  for  want  of  room,  and 
cheered  with  the  glorious  uncertainty  as  to  whether  we  should 
gain  freedom  or  the  chain-gang, — a  suit  of  dry  clothes,  a  glass 
of  New  England  rum  and  a  mug  of  hot  coffee  were  just  the 
things  to  put  'where  they  would  do  the  most  good,'  and  were 
put  accordingly.    *    *  * 

"About  six  o'clock  next  morning,  however,  the  Georgette 
was  lying  about  half  of  a  mile  to  windward  of  us,  with  a 
man-of-war  and  vice-admiral's  flag  flying.  We  set  the  'Stars 
and  Stripes'  as  we  passed,  and  held  on  our  course.  *  *  * 
At  a  quarter  to  eight  o'clock  the  Georgette  was  so  near  that 



I  could  see  she  had  guns,  an  artillery  force,  and  the  water 
police  on  board. 

"The  men  of  our  party  were  all  assembled  in  the  cabin 
with  their  rifles  and  revolvers  ready.  Of  the  watch  not  one 
was  visible  from  the  Georgette  but  the  lookout  and  the  man 
at  the  wheel.  I  now  stepped  down  into  the  cabin  and  told 
our  men  that  if  the  officials  on  board  the  Georgette  were 
determined  to  fight  for  their  re-capture  they  would,  most 
probably,  succeed,  as  they  had  the  advantage  of  us  in  every 
way — more  men,  better  armed,  cannon,  and  a  steamer  with 
which  they  could  sail  round  and  round  us.  I  also  explained 
to  them  that  while  those  of  our  party  who  had  not  been  in 
prison  could  only  suffer  imprisonment,  the  men  who  had  been 
imprisoned  could  be  hanged  in  case  any  life  was  lost  by  their 
resistance.  I  added  it  was  simply  a  matter  of  dying  now  or 
waiting  to  die  in  prison,  if  the  officials  on  the  Georgette  fired 
into  or  boarded  us.  Their  answer  was  'We'll  do  whatever  you 
say.'  I  then  said,  'I'll  hold  out  to  the  last,'  and  went  on  deck 

"At  8  A.  M.  the  Georgette  steamed  ahead  and  fired  a  shot 
across  our  bows.  •  Captain  Anthony  then  put  a  question  to  me, 
to  which  I  replied,  'Hold  on,  and  don't  take  any  notice  of  the 
shot  yet.' 

"After  a  lapse  of  about  three  minutes,  the  artillery  men 
having  reloaded  their  field  piece,  and  the  steamer  and  the 
Catalpa  sailing  side  by  side  within  easy  speaking  distance,  I 
said,  'Now  ask  him  what  does  he  want?'  Captain  Anthony 
stepped  on  the  weather  rail  and  raised  his  speaking  trumpet; 
as  he  did  so  the  Georgette  hailed:  'Bark  ahoy!'  and  the  an- 
swer went  back:  'What  do  you  want?'  'Heave  to,'  came  back 
from  the  Georgette.  'What  for?'  shouted  our  captain.  After 
quite  a  pause  the  Georgette  hailed:  'Have  you  any  convict 
prisoners  on  board?'  Answer:  'No  prisoners  here;  no  pris- 
oners that  I  know  of.' 

The  Georgette  then  hailed — T  telegraphed  to  your  gov- 
ernment; don't  you  know  that  you  are  amenable  to  British 
law  in  this  Colony?  You  have  six  convict  prisoners  on 
board.   I  see  some  of  them  on  deck  now.' 

"I  remarked  to  the  Captain:  'This  fellow  is  lying  and  try- 
ing to  bluff  us;  he  can't  send  a  message  to  Adelaide  before 
Saturday  next.'  The  Georgette  next  hailed:  T  give  you 
fifteen  minutes  to  consider,  and  you  must  take  the  conse- 
quences; I  have  the  means  to  do  it,  and  if  you  don't  heave 
to  I'll  blow  the  mast  out  of  you.' 

"Captain  Anthony  shouted  a  reply  pointing  to  his  flag. 
'That's  the  American  flag;  I  am  on  the  high  seas;  my  flag 
protects  me;  if  you  fire  on  this  ship  you  fire  on  the  American 

"The  threat  of  firing  on  the  flag  highly  incensed  our  first 
mate,  who  exclaimed,  'Damn  him,  let  him  sink  us;  we'll  go 
down  with  the  ship;  I'll  never  start  sheet  or  tack  for  him.' 
Smith  now  asked,  'What  will  you  do  if  he  attempts  to  board 
us?'  I  replied,  'Sink  his  boat  when  it  comes  alongside.  You 
have  a  couple  of  good  heavy  grindstones;  let  us  have  them 
handy  to  heave  over  the  side.'  The  Captain  reminded  Smith 
of  some  heavy  logs  of  timber  which  were  in  the  hold  and 
bade  him  order  the  crew  to  pass  them  on  deck;  these  logs 
were  quickly  passed  up  and  laid  on  the  main  hatch  ready  for 
use.   *    *  * 


"Our  fifteen  minutes'  grace  and  several  other  minutes 
had  expired,  and,  as  the  Georgette  steamed  slowly  across 
our  stern,  I  expected  a  raking  shot  among  the  masts.  She 
did  not  fire;  and,  as  she  ranked  alongside  again,  I  knew  that 
the  game  of  bluff  was  played  out.  The  spokesman  of  the 
party  on  board  the  Georgette,  whom  I  believed  to  be  Colonel 
Harvest,  called  out:  'Won't  you  surrender  to  our  govern- 
ment?' No  reply.  And  again  he  called  out — 'I  see  three  of 
those  men  on  board  now.'  Our  Captain  replied — 'You  are 
mistaken,  sir;  the  men  you  see  are  my  ship's  crew.' 

"The  Georgette  hailed:  'Can  I  come  on  board?'  To  this 
Captain  Anthony  replied:  'No,  sir;  I  am  bound  for  sea  and 
can't  stop.' 

"The  Georgette  still  kept  us  company  as  if  loath  to  part, 
until  half-past  nine  A.  M.,  when  she  slowly  swung  off,  and 
without  having  the  courtesy  to  bid  us  bon  voyage,  steamed 
back  to  Fremantle." 

The  remaining  incidents  of  the  voyage  were  written  in  the 
log  of  the  good  ship  Catalpa.  The  rescued  prisoners  boarded  her 
on  April  18,  1876,  and  after  a  lapse  of  nearly  four  months  they 
were  landed  safely  at  New  York. 

Later,  a  financial  statement  setting  forth  all  monies  raised  for 
the  expedition,  and  all  the  expenditures  incurred,  was  duly  sub- 
mitted to  the  proper  authorities  and  approved.  Incidents  con- 
nected with  this  fund  and  other  matters  relating  to  the  Rescue 
subsequently  became  subjects  of  controversy;  they  received  a  lot 
of  publication,  so  I  need  not  repeat  them  here. 

The  plan  for  the  rescue  of  those  Irish  prisoners  in  Western 
Australia  was  launched  and  carried  through  under  difficult  cir- 
cumstances. In  concluding  this  necessarily  abbreviated  account 
of  it,  it  is  sufficient  to  reiterate  that  ten  years  after  their  convic- 
tion for  having  joined  the  Fenian  organization,  those  six  former 
soldiers  of  the  British  army: 

Martin  J.  Hogan 
James  Wilson 
Thomas  H.  Hassett 
Michael  Harrington 
Robert  Cranston 
Thomas  Darragh 

stepped  ashore  on  American  soil  as  free  men.  Thus  by  a  combi- 
nation of  Irish  skill  and  pluck  and  Yankee  grit,  the  Catalpa  expe- 
dition was  crowned  with  success. 



Douglas  Hyde  Mistaken  in  Theory  that  John  O'Leary  Repre- 
sented Views  of  Majority — John  O'Mahony  and  Many  Minor 
Leaders  Enthusiastic  for  Revival  of  Old  Tongue — Would 
Have  Restored  It  Had  They  Won — An  Irish  Government 
Only  Can  Complete  Work  of  Restoration. 

This  chapter,  it  will  be  noted,  in  addition  to  treating  of  the 
deep  interest  taken  by  the  Fenians  in  the  propagation  of  the 
Irish  language,  also  deals  with  the  influence  of  the  work  of  the 
Gaelic  League  (which  was  not  established  until  1893)  on  the 
Insurrection  of  1916.  It  might,  perhaps,  more  appropriately  ap- 
pear towards  the  end  of  this  volume,  but,  as  the  subject  matter 
does  not  come  under  any  particular  grouping  of  chapters,  I  will 
insert  it  here — in  contact  with  the  story  of  the  Fenian  period 
of  1865-67. 

Douglas  Hyde's  admirable  article  on  the  work  of  the  Gaelic 
League,  which  the  Gaelic  American  reprinted  on  August  11,  1923, 
from  the  Manchester  Guardian  Commercial,  was  a  most  timely 
contribution  to  the  history  of  present-day  Ireland.  It  supplies 
authentic  information  that  could  hardly  be  given  by  any  other 
man,  except  perhaps  Eoin  MacNeill.  Coming  from  An  Craoibhin 
Aoibhin,  it  was  doubly  welcome.  Many  of  us  thought  that  Dr. 
Hyde  rather  resented  the  large  and  important  part  played  by 
members  of  the  Gaelic  League  in  the  Revolutionary  Movement 
which  brought  about  present  conditions,  but  his  splendid  article 
showed  that  we  were  mistaken.  Not  only  did  he  not  resent  it, 
but  he  was  evidently  proud  of  it  and  said  truly  that  the  Gaelic 
League  was  the  mother  of  Sinn  Fein. 

Very  much  of  the  information  he  gave  was  wholly  unknown 
to  the  great  mass  of  the  Irish  people.  The  historians  of  the 
future,  having  the  written  evidence  of  one  of  the  founders  of 
the  Gaelic  League  and  its  President  for  the  first  22  years  of 
its  existence,  must  record  and  give  proper  emphasis  to  the  tre- 
mendous influence  of  that  organization  in  leading  up  to  the  1916 
fight  for  Irish  Independence. 

There  is  one  part  of  Douglas  Hyde's  article — that  dealing  with 
the  neglect  of  the  Irish  language  by  previous  National  Move- 



ments— in  which,  owing  to  lack  of  information,  Dr.  Hyde  did 
not  do  justice  to  the  Fenians.   Here  is  what  he  says: 

"The  Young  Irelanders  of  thirty  years  earlier,  a  national 
and  popular  body,  never  gave  any  sign  of  any  desire  to  do 
anything  for  the  language,  with  the  exception  of  the  chival- 
rous Davis,  and  he  did  not  know  it. 

"The  Fenians  who  succeeded  them  in  the  'sixties  never 
seemed  to  recognize  in  any  official  way  that  there  was  an 
Irish  language  at  all.  The  most  literary  and  in  many  ways 
the  most  striking  of  them,  when  he  came  back  to  live  in 
Ireland  after  his  exile,  made  a  speech  in  Cork,  widely  circu- 
lated as  a  pamphlet,  in  which  he  advised  his  hearers  not  to 
bother  about  Irish.  T  begin  by  a  sort  of  negative  advice,' 
he  said.  'You  are  most  of  you  not  destined  to  be  scholars, 
and  so  I  should  simply  advise  you — especially  such  of  you 
as  do  not  already  know  Irish — to  leave  all  this  alone.'  In 
this  attitude  he  was  faithfully  followed  by  all  his  adherents 
until  the  language  movement  had  become  a  power.  I  well 
remember  the  night  upon  which  Arthur  Griffith  first 
acknowledged  that  he  would  give  allegiance  to  it." 

John  O'Leary  is  evidently  the  returned  exile  referred  to  as 
making  the  speech  in  Cork.  O'Leary  was  highly  respected  by  all 
the  Fenians,  as  he  deserved  to  be,  but  he  did  not  represent  the 
views  of  the  majority,  at  least  before  the  Rising  of  1867,  on  the 
question  of  the  language.  Douglas  Hyde  knew  John  O'Leary 
very  well  in  his  later  years — so  well  that  O'Leary  made  him  a 
Fenian,  as  he  did  with  William  Butler  Yeats,  Rollestone,  Gregg, 
Charles  Johnston,  Oldham  and  other  Trinity  College  students 
when  the  Young  Ireland  society  of  which  they  were  all  mem- 
bers, was  doing  splendid  work  in  Dublin  in  the  'eighties.  I  got 
this  information  from  Charles  Johnston  (son  of  the  famous 
Johnston  of  Ballykilbeg)  during  Douglas  Hyde's  trip  to  America 
for  the  Gaelic  League.  O'Leary  had  a  hobby,  like  most  college 
men  of  his  time,  that  "culture"  consisted  mainly  in  knowledge  of 
English  literature,  Latin  and  Greek,  and  he  was  not  proficient  in 
speaking  languages.  Although  he  had  a  thorough  knowledge 
of  French  literature  and  had  lived  many  years  in  Paris,  he  never 
learned  to  pronounce  the  language  correctly  and  always  spoke 
it,  as  he  did  English,  with  a  strong  Tipperary  accent.  The  quo- 
tation from  the  Cork  lecture  represents  his  views  exactly,  but 
not  those  of  any  of  the  older  Fenian  leaders,  nor  of  the  great 
mass  of  the  membership. 

John  O'Mahony,  the  founder  of  the  Fenian  Movement  and 
its  leader  in  America,  was  a  fine  Gaelic  scholar,  steeped  to  the 
lips  in  the  lore  of  ancient  Ireland,  and  his  translation  from 
the  Irish  of  "Keating's  History  of  Ireland",  with  its  valuable 
notes,  culled  from  old  manuscripts  and  traditions,  is  a  monu- 
ment to  his  scholarship.  All  who  knew  him  were  well  aware  that 
he  looked  forward  to  the  restoration  of  Gaelic  as  one  of  the 



certain  results  of  the  achievement  of  National  Independence, 
and  he  expressed  this  hope  in  many  of  his  speeches.  The  latter 
were  never  collected,  but  his  translation  of  Keating  is  there  to 
testify  to  his  feeling,  and  the  selection  of  the  word  "Fenian" 
as  the  name  of  the  organization  is  indirect  evidence  of  the  same 
kind.   The  Fianna  Eireann  was  his  ideal  of  a  National  Army. 

Many  of  the  minor  leaders  in  Ireland,  especially  in  Connacht 
and  Munster,  and  practically  all  the  rank  and  file  in  the  rural 
districts  of  those  provinces,  were  fluent  Gaelic  speakers  and 
strong  for  the  restoration  of  the  language.  I  can  speak  from 
personal  knowledge  of  this,  for  I  knew  very  many  of  the  men 
and  talked  with  them  on  the  subject.  O'Donovan  Rossa  not  only 
spoke  Irish  fluently,  but  he  had  an  extensive  book  knowledge 
of  it.  He  was  often  a  welcome  visitor  to  the  house  of  John 
O'Donovan  in  Buckingham  Street,  Dublin,  and  the  two  men 
had  long  talks  on  and  in  the  old  tongue.  Many  of  the  Fenian 
Centres  in  Connacht  and  Munster  and  some  in  Leinster  and 
Ulster,  were  enthusiastic  advocates  of  the  restoration  of  the 
language,  but  it  is,  of  course,  true  that  no  organized  effort  was 
made  at  that  time  to  restore  it,  on  account  of  incessant  activi- 
ties in  the  political  field.  Everything  was  subordinated  to  the 
work  of  organization. 

The  same  was  true  of  American  Fenianism  and  it  is  certain 
that  had  the  movement  succeeded,  the  restoration  of  Irish  would 
have  been  undertaken  by  the  Republican  Government  at  the 
very  first  opportunity.  John  O'Mahony  would  certainly  have 
exercised  great  influence  in  that  Government. 

The  decline  of  the  language  was  very  rapid  during  the  last 
century.  When  my  mother,  who  was  born  in  1812,  just  thirteen 
miles  from  Dublin  on  the  high  road  to  Naas,  was  a  girl,  all  the 
middle  aged  and  old  people  spoke  Irish,  but  not  as  their  every- 
day language,  and  she  herself  knew  many  phrases  and  hundreds 
of  words.  I  was  only  one  among  many  who  wanted  to  learn 
the  language  and  to  see  it  revived.  When  only  nine  years  of  age 
I  bought  an  Irish  Primer.  When  fourteen,  I  invested  in  a  lesson 
book  and  dictionary.  I  knew  many  Dublin  men  who  had  ac- 
quired a  fair  knowledge  of  Irish  in  the  same  way  and  through 
talking  to  Connachtmen  on  their  way  to  England  to  reap  the 
harvest,  though  the  harvestmen  were  very  reluctant  to  talk  Irish, 
except  among  themselves.  The  idea  had  already  become  wide- 
spread that  Irish  was  a  badge  of  inferiority,  and  schoolboys  in 
many  parts  of  Connacht  had  to  carry,  hung  from  the  button- 
holes of  their  jackets,  small  sticks  on  which  their  parents  cut  a 
notch  for  every  word  of  Irish  spoken  in  their  hearing  at  home, 
and  the  schoolmaster  gave  them  a  slap  for  every  notch. 



I  knew  that  Meath  men  who  lived  near  enough  to  Dublin  to 
bring  loads  into  Smithfield  Market  used  to  line  up  their  carts 
in  front  of  Delahoyde's  druggist  establishment  on  Queen's  Street 
and  make  their  purchases  there,  because  Albert  Delahoyde,  one 
of  the  sons,  who  was  Treasurer  of  a  Gaelic  Class  that  I  attended 
from  1858  to  1861,  spoke  Irish  very  well.  Later  he  joined  the 
little  Papal  Army,  and  still  later  was  a  lieutenant  in  the  Aus- 
trian Army.  It  is  a  curious  fact  that  the  name  is  the  same  as 
Hyde,  Delahoyde  being  the  old  Norman  form. 

That  little  Gaelic  class  was  started  by  a  few  young  men  and 
boys  who  thought  they  were  initiating  a  movement  to  revive  the 
language,  but  many  of  them  dropped  away  after  a  time  because 
they  got  too  busy  in  Fenianism.  In  the  end  they  were  unable  to 
pay  the  rent  of  their  quarters  in  Middle  Abbey  Street,  where 
Martin  A.  O'Brennan,  who  kept  an  Academy  on  Bolton  Street, 
was  their  teacher.  He  was  the  author  of  a  convenient  text  book 
called  "Irish  Made  Easy."  A.  M.  Sullivan  gave  us  the  use  of  his 
editorial  room  in  the  Nation  office.  It  was  there  I  was  sworn  in 
a  Fenian.  We  continued  to  meet  there  until  T.  D.  Sullivan  came 
in  one  evening  with  a  set  of  resolutions  which  he  got  us,  boys 
as  we  were,  to  put  our  names  to,  calling  a  meeting  at  the  Euro- 
pean Hotel,  Bolton  Street,  to  start  the  "National  Petition"  move- 
ment ("taking  England  at  her  word")  which  gave  Fenianism  its 
first  real  start  in  Dublin.  Neither  Alexander  M.  nor  Timothy  D. 
Sullivan,  nor  their  brother  Donal,  who  was  Business  Manager 
of  the  Nation,  knew  a  word  of  Irish,  although  they  were  brought 
up  in  Bantry,  then  an  Irish-speaking  centre,  yet  they  took  great 
interest  in  the  language  and  gave  the  revival  a  good  start  by 
publishing  from  week  to  week  in  the  Nation  Father  Ulick  Burke's 
"Easy  Lessons  in  Irish." 

I  give  these  details  to  show  that  the  desire  to  revive  the 
language  was  then  widespread  and  that  it  only  needed  a  Douglas 
Hyde,  with  his  fine  enthusiasm  and  great  organizing  capacity, 
to  start  a  Gaelic  League  more  than  thirty  years  earlier.  And 
Irish  was  still  a  living  language,  not  only  in  Munster,  Connacht 
and  several  counties  of  Ulster,  but  also  in  parts  of  Louth,  Meath, 
Westmeath,  Longford  and  Kilkenny,  as  well,  so  that  the  work 
of  restoration  would  have  been  then  much  easier.  It  was,  how- 
ever, next  to  impossible  at  that  time  to  get  native  speakers  from 
Connacht  and  Kerry  who  helped  us  on  pronunciation  and  by 
singing  Gaelic  songs,  to  even  learn  the  alphabet. 

It  is,  of  course,  quite  true  that  men  very  actively  engaged  in 
a  political  movement,  especially  one  of  a  revolutionary  charac- 
ter, are  too  absorbed  in  their  work  to  give  much  time  to  any- 



thing  else.  The  Fenians,  owing  to  the  American  Civil  War  and 
the  bitterness  of  the  American  people  against  England,  were 
filled  with  the  idea  that  military  action  alone,  with  assistance 
from  America,  would  free  Ireland.  They  consequently  devoted 
all  their  attention  to  that  line  of  work,  but  failed  because 
of  poor  leadership  and  inadequate  resources.  But  they  cer- 
tainly would  not  have  brought  military  success  any  nearer  in 
those  few  critical  years  by  starting  a  movement  to  revive  Gaelic, 
though  such  a  movement  initiated  then  would  have  brought 
results  at  a  later  period. 

Important  as  has  been  the  work  of  the  Gaelic  League  and 
of  Sinn  Fein,  neither,  nor  both  combined,  would  have  brought 
about  the  national  reawakening  without  the  military  action  of 
Easter  Week  in  1916.  It  may  be  said  that  the  Gaelic  League 
started  Sinn  Fein,  but  until  the  latter  became  Sinn  Fein  agus 
An  Lamh  Laidir,  it  had  no  chance.  Its  policy  was  not  adapted 
to  the  character  and  temperament  of  the  Irish  people,  who  are 
only  thoroughly  aroused  by  action. 

The  Gaelic  League  prepared  the  ground  for  and  made  pos- 
sible the  later  movements,  but  it  required  physical  action  to  bring 
results.  Some  of  the  physical  force  men,  it  is  true,  spoke  lightly 
of  the  Language  Movement  in  the  early  days  of  the  Gaelic 
League,  but  in  those  days  many  Gaelic  Leaguers  talked  arrant, 
flippant  nonsense  about  physical  force.  They  sneered  at  Fenian- 
ism  and  scoffed  at  the  literature  of  Young  Ireland  because  it 
was  written  in  English.  But  that  literature,  written  in  the 
language  of  the  enemy,  was  the  inspiration  of  the  Fenians, 
and,  but  for  Fenianism,  neither  the  Gaelic  League  nor  Sinn  Fein 
would  have  been  possible.  All  of  these  movements  served  Ire- 
land in  their  own  way  and  all  had  their  defects.  And  it  must 
be  remembered,  after  all,  that  it  requires  an  Irish  Government 
to  complete  the  task  of  restoring  the  Irish  language.  If  the 
men  of  'Forty-Eight  or  the  Fenians  had  been  able  to  establish 
such  a  Government,  there  would  have  been  no  necessity  for  the 
Gaelic  League. 




Exercised  a  Far-Reaching  Influence  on  the  Fenian  Movement, 
But  Lacked  Some  of  the  Essential  Qualities  of  Leadership — 
The  "Invasions"  of  Canada. 

John  O'Mahony,  the  leader  of  the  American  Fenians — "Head 
Centre"  was  the  official  title — was  one  of  the  most  interesting 
characters  in  Irish  history.  He  was  an  Irish  gentleman  of  the  old 
school,  of  splendid  physique,  well  educated,  and  an  accomplished 
Gaelic  scholar.  Descended  from  the  Chief  of  the  O'Mahony 
Clan  and  recognized  as  their  Chief  by  the  stalwart,  fighting 
peasantry  of  the  mountainous  region  on  the  Cork-Tipperary 
border,  he  was  brought  up  without  any  association  with  "the 
Garrison",  among  whom  he  lived  as  a  "gentleman  farmer",  with 
a  very  comfortable  income.  His  standing  among  the  people  was 
aptly  illustrated  in  a  poem  by  his  Secretary,  Michael  Cavanagh: 
"Hail  to  you;  hail  to  you,  Chief  of  the  Comeraghs,"  and  he  him- 
self, in  a  lecture  in  Cooper  Institute,  New  York,  some  years  before 
his  death,  described  this  status  by  saying  that  the  head  of  his 
family  "could  always  count  on  2,000  men  in  his  quarrel".  That 
illustrates  the  Ireland  of  the  Clans.  They  fought  for  the  Chief 
whether  he  had  the  right  or  the  wrong  on  his  side — and  recent 
events  have  shown  that  there  is  very  much  of  that  spirit  in 
Ireland  to-day. 

O'Mahony  was  born  at  Clonkilla,  a  picturesque  place  on  the 
banks  of  the  Funcheon,  near  Mitchelstown,  County  Cork,  in 
the  year  1819. 

In  the  early  days  of  Fenianism,  and  even  earlier,  there  were 
many  stories  current  in  Ireland  regarding  the  great  physical 
strength  and  prowess  of  O'Mahony  and  his  immediate  ances- 
tors. The  O'Mahony  family  were  the  popular  champions  against 
"The  Garrison",  and  had  many  encounters  with  the  latter.  An 
article  by  Dr.  Campion  of  Kilkenny,  describing  how  O'Mahony's 
grandfather  had  horsewhipped  the  Earl  of  Kingston,  the  most 
powerful  landlord  in  the  neighborhood,  for  some  insulting  re- 
marks, appeared  in  the  Celt  in  1857.  John  O'Mahony  wrote  a 
letter  later  correcting  some  of  the  details,  but  confirming  the 





The  most  widely  spread  of  the  stories  was  about  O'Mahony's 
encounter  with  a  "wicked"  bull  when  a  young  man.  He  had  a 
habit  of  vaulting  over  walls  when  strolling  around  and  one  day 
he  landed  in  a  corner  where  he  found  a  bull  of  vicious  reputa- 
tion facing  him,  with  no  chance  of  getting  away.  The  bull  low- 
ered his  head  to  charge,  but  O'Mahony  jumped  on  the  angry 
beast's  back,  gripped  him  by  the  horns,  belabored  him  with  a 
stout  stick  and  held  his  place  on  the  bull's  back  while  the 
animal  charged  wildly  around  the  field  until  exhausted.  Irish 
boys  are  very  much  influenced  by  stories  of  physical  prowess, 
and  this  particular  story  gave  many  a  boy  the  idea  that 
O'Mahony  was  a  hero. 

On  the  outbreak  of  the  abortive  Rising  in  Tipperary,  in  '48, 
O'Mahony  gathered  about  2,000  men,  all  of  fine  physique,  but 
with  no  training  or  oganization  and,  with  the  exception  of  some 
fowling  pieces,  no  arms.  There  had  been  no  Young  Ireland 
propaganda  among  them  and  there  was  probably  no  Confederate 
Club  in  the  whole  mountain  district.  The  men — all  Gaelic 
speakers — were  simply  following  their  Chief  to  fight  the  English. 
That  spirit  was  in  the  marrow  of  their  bones  and  needed  no 
propaganda  to  make  it  flare  up. 

But  the  utter  collapse  of  Smith  O'Brien's  attempt  at  Ballin- 
garry  and  John  Blake  Dillon's  decision  not  to  fight  at  Killenaule, 
rendered  it  absolutely  useless  for  him  to  keep  his  men  "out",  so 
O'Mahony  disbanded  them  and  remained  in  hiding  until  he 
escaped  to  France.  After  a  short  stay  in  Paris,  where  he  met 
James  Stephens  who  had  also  escaped,  he  made  his  way  to 

When  O'Mahony  went  "on  his  keeping",  as  they  called  it  in 
those  days  (1848),  he  turned  his  property  over  to  his  brother-in- 
law,  one  of  the  Tipperary  Mandevilles,  and,  as  he  had  no  profes- 
sional training,  he  was  dependent  for  a  living  on  an  occasional 
small  remittance  from  his  sister  and  some  pitiful  remuneration 
for  literary  work.  His  principal  literary  effort  was  a  master- 
piece— the  translation  from  the  Irish  of  Keating's  History  of 
Ireland.  Competent  judges  have  said  that  his  notes  are  almost 
as  valuable  as  the  history  itself,  on  account  of  his  intimate 
knowledge  of  old  manuscripts  and  the  traditions  of  the  people. 

I  had  the  privilege  of  seeing  the  manuscript  from  which 
O'Mahony  made  his  translation.  It  belonged  to  a  Corkman 
named  Sheehan  who  was  practicing  law  in  New  York,  and  at  a 
dinner  in  his  house  in  the  mid-seventies  he  took  great  pride  in 
showing  it  to  Joseph  I.  C.  Clarke,  James  J.  O'Kelly  and  me. 
The  transcript  of  Keating's  work  had  been  made  by  Sheehan's 



grandfather,  whom  he  described  as  "The  Southern  Captain  Rock", 
and  was  very  carefully  done  on  vellum.  There  was  not  a  flaw  or 
an  erasure  in  it. 

During  the  Civil  War  O'Mahony  organized  a  regiment  of  the 
New  York  National  Guard  (the  Ninety-ninth)  composed  entirely 
of  Fenians,  and  was  appointed  Colonel  of  it.  That  was  how  he 
got  his  military  title.  But  Lieutenant-Colonel  Patrick  J.  Downing, 
who  had  served  in  Meagher's  Brigade,  was  the  real  commander 
of  the  regiment,  as  O'Mahony  was  too  busy  to  give  much  atten- 
tion to  it.  It  did  not  do  any  fighting  in  the  war,  but  was  called 
out  for  duty  to  guard  Confederate  prisoners  for  many  months 
at  Elmira.  Many  men  who  afterwards  became  prominent  served 
in  the  regiment.  Charles  Underwood  O'Connell,  who  went  to 
Ireland  in  1865  and  spent  five  years  in  British  prisons,  was  a 
Captain;  John  F.  Finerty  was  a  sergeant,  and  Anthony  MacOwen, 
for  some  years  Coroner  in  the  Bronx,  also  served  in  it.  Several 
of  the  men  went  to  Ireland  in  1865  to  take  part  in  the  projected 

O'Mahony  knew  the  Irish  Question  theoretically  better  than 
any  Irishman  of  his  day,  with  the  probable  exception  of  Thomas 
Clarke  Luby;  he  knew  the  kind  of  organization  that  was  neces- 
sary to  prepare  the  people  for  the  struggle  to  win  National  Inde- 
pendence and  the  propaganda  that  would  educate  the  people, 
but  he  lacked  some  of  the  essential  qualities  of  leadership.  He 
was  very  much  of  a  dreamer  and  not  a  good  judge  of  men.  While 
he  was  very  tolerant  of  differences  of  opinion  and  wished  to 
gather  around  him  the  best  minds  of  the  Race,  those  with  whom 
he  surrounded  himself  were  not  all  of  the  best  quality.  His 
associates  may  be  described  thus:  clever  men  like  P.  J.  Meehan 
of  the  Irish  American  (then  the  leading  Irish  paper  in  America, 
though  Patrick  Donohue's  Boston  Pilot  had  the  largest  circula- 
tion) who  was  not  fully  convinced  of  the  possibility  of  an  Inde- 
pendent Irish  Republic;  William  R.  Roberts,  a  successful  dry- 
goods  merchant,  who  was  vain  and  shallow,  but  showy;  the 
Scanlan  brothers  of  Chicago;  Henry  C.  McCarthy,  a  State  Sena- 
tor in  Illinois  and  an  able  man;  P.  W.  Dunne  of  Peoria,  big- 
hearted  and  forceful,  but  impetuous;  James  Gibbons  of  Phila- 
delphia; B.  Doran  Killian  of  New  York,  an  able  lawyer,  and 
others — all  men  of  standing  in  the  communities  in  which  they 
lived.  But  there  was  another  class,  who  held  no  positions  of 
trust  in  the  organization,  and  who  hovered  around  the  Chief  like 
flies  over  a  sugar  bowl,  who  flattered  him,  carried  stories  to  him, 
professed  unlimited  personal  loyalty  to  him  (which  most  of  them 
really  felt)  and  exercised  an  influence  over  him  that  was  not 
always  good. 



Most  of  these  were  honest  fellows  enough,  though  poor  ad- 
visers, but  the  worst  of  the  lot  was  known  as  "Red  Jim"  Mc- 
Dermott.  Like  Godfrey  Massey  (who  turned  informer  as  soon 
as  he  was  arrested  in  1867) ;  Reynolds,  the  informer  of  1798; 
Luttrell,  at  Limerick  in  1691;  and  Corydon,  who  informed  on 
McCafferty  at  Chester,  McDermott  was  the  illegitimate  son  of  a 
married  woman.  His  mother's  husband  was  a  coachman  to  an 
Orange  attorney  named  O'Brien,  who  lived  on  Stephens  Green, 
Dublin,  and  O'Brien  was  his  real  father.  McDermott  shame- 
lessly boasted  of  this  and  blackmailed  O'Brien  during  the  greater 
part  of  his  life.  He  was  a  handsome  fellow,  glib-tongued  and 
ready-witted,  but  wholly  without  principle,  moral  sense  or  moral 
scruples.  He  had  served  in  the  Irish  Papal  Brigade  in  1860  and 
returned  to  Ireland  with  the  Cross  of  St.  Sylvester  on  his  breast, 
which  Dick  Fitzpatrick,  a  British  army  veteran  who  was  his 
sergeant,  told  me  he  had  done  nothing  whatever  to  deserve. 

But  that  cross  was  his  passport  and  credential  in  America. 
Although  Stephens  had  warned  O'Mahony  against  him  when  he 
left  Dublin  in  1863,  O'Mahony  made  him  an  organizer  within 
a  few  weeks  of  his  landing.  He  became  O'Mahony's  evil  genius 
and  acquired  a  strange  influence  over  him. 

McDermott  was  really  more  responsible  for  the  Split,  which 
took  place  at  the  end  of  1865,  than  any  of  the  bigger  men.  He 
was  constantly  fomenting  trouble  by  lying  stories  which  he  put 
in  circulation  or  told  "confidentially"  to  numbers  of  people,  with 
the  intention  that  they  should  be  spread.  Numerous  complaints 
and  demands  for  his  dismissal  were  made  to  O'Mahony,  but  he 
stood  by  McDermott  to  the  end — even  after  the  Fenian  Brother- 
hood had  practically  ceased  to  exist. 

When  in  1872  John  O'Leary,  who  had  been  in  exile  in  Paris, 
came  to  New  York,  there  was  a  little  conference  held  between 
O'Mahony  t  and  the  recently  released  Fenian  prisoners.  At  the 
close,  O'Leary  (the  only  man  present  who  dared  to  hurt  his 
feelings  by  such  a  question)  said: 

"Mr.  O'Mahony,  I  want  to  ask  you  frankly,  how  is  it  that, 
although  practically  every  man  of  standing  in  the  movement 
distrusts  this  man  McDermott,  you  insist  on  trusting  him?" 

O'Mahony,  who  was  leaning  his  elbow  on  a  tall  mantelpiece 
(unconsciously  displaying  his  splendid  figure)  leaned  over  and, 
solemnly  shaking  his  head  from  side  to  side  (a  habit  he  had 
when  talking  emphatically),  said: 

"Well,  morally,  I  admit  that  McDermott  is  a  bad  man,  but 
politically  (with  great  emphasis  on  the  word)  I  have  never  been 
able  to  see  anything  wrong  with  him." 



"But,  Mr.  O'Mahony,"  replied  O'Leary  promptly,  "Isn't  it 
enough  that  he  is  a  blackguard?" 

O'Mahony  remained  silent,  but  looked  very  uncomfortable. 

This  was  the  real  secret  of  O'Mahony's  failure  as  a  leader 
Beginning  with  profound  distrust  of  McDermott,  and  irritation 
at  his  influence  over  O'Mahony,  the  discontent  among  the  other 
Fenian  leaders  grew  until  it  finally  included  Doran  Killian,  the 
Secretary,  who  was  a  very  able  man,  but  self-assertive  and  with 
a  most  unconcilitary  manner,  and  finally  the  explosion  came  at 
the  New  York  Convention  in  1865,  when  O'Mahony  read  a  letter 
from  Stephens — which  he  published  a  day  or  two  later — in  which, 
referring  to  the  malcontents,  Stephens  used  the  expression: 
"Lash  them  from  you  like  so  many  dogs." 

The  Split  had  been  brewing  for  several  months  and  there 
had  been  many  public  manifestations  of  it,  but  Stephens'  ill- 
judged  letter  evoked  such  anger  among  O'Mahony's  opponents 
that  the  breach  was  made  irreparable.  The  C.  O.  I.  R.  (Chief 
Organizer  of  the  Irish  Republic,  as  Stephens  was  called)  was 
angry  and  bitterly  disappointed  at  the  Split,  coming  just  on  the 
eve  of  the  time  set  for  the  Rising  in  Ireland — it  is  at  such  times 
that  Splits  always  come — and  his  feelings  got  the  better  of  his 
judgment.  Stephens  depended  entirely  on  America  for  the  funds 
to  arm  the  men  in  Ireland,  neglecting  the  work  of  collecting  at 
home,  and  those  funds  were  now  to  be  expended  in  an  invasion 
of  Canada.  For  quite  some  time  the  Roberts  section  of  the 
Fenian  Brotherhood  had  been  planning  such  a  project.  The 
proposal  had  been  opposed  by  O'Mahony  from  its  inception, 
but,  later,  convinced  that  the  Roberts  wing  was  determined  to 
carry  it  out,  O'Mahony  endeavored  to  forestall  his  opponents  by 
launching  in  advance  an  unfortunate  expedition  against  Campo 
Bello  (an  island  off  the  Coast  of  Maine  which  was  claimed  and 
held  by  the  English) ,  and  which  failed.  It  was  the  idea  of 
B.  Doran  Killian  that  he  could  precipitate  trouble  between  Eng- 
land and  the  United  States  by  seizing  the  land,  but  the  Eng- 
lish were  "tipped  off"  (probably  by  "Red  Jim")  in  time  and  sent 
a  small  force  which  got  there  in  advance  of  the  Fenians  who 
were  led  by  Bill  Stephens  (an  Irish  minister's  son  who  had 
been  sworn  in  by  Edmund  O'Donovan  while  a  student  in  Trinity 
College,  Dublin) ,  and  by  Tom  Williams,  who  had  been  Editor 
of  the  Longford  Register.  Thus,  the  money  that  remained 
under  O'Mahony's  control,  which  was  badly  wanted  in  Ireland, 
was  spent  to  no  purpose. 

Immediately  after  the  Campo  Bello  incident,  the  Roberts 
party  devoted  all  their  energies  to  preparation  for  the  Cana- 



dian  raid  which  culminated  in  the  fight  at  Ridgeway,  under 
General  John  O'Neill,  on  June  2,  1866.  And,  of  course,  the  pro- 
tests which  the  O'Mahony  wing  had  been  making  against  wast- 
ing money  on  any  such  expedition  were  nullified  by  their  own 
foolish  endeavor. 

Another  futile  attempt  to  invade  Canadian  territory,  which 
was  made  in  1870,  was  on  a  larger  scale,  but  was  betrayed  by 
Beach,  the  half-breed  Gypsy  spy,  who  masqueraded  under  the 
name  of  Le  Caron  and  pretended  to  be  a  French  sympathizer 
with  Ireland.  His  information  enabled  the  Canadians  to  fore- 
stall every  move  of  the  Fenians.  That  disastrous  expedition 
broke  up  the  "Canadian"  wing  of  the  Fenians.  The  O'Mahony 
wing  lingered  on  for  several  years,  but  was  unable  to  accomplish 
anything,  and  finally  broke  up  when  O'Mahony  died.  Its  last 
effort  was  to  send  O'Mahony's  remains  to  Ireland,  but  the  com- 
mittee which  managed  it  in  New  York  was  composed  of  men  of 
the  Clan-na-Gael.  Fully  20,000  men — in  a  city  where  he  had 
died  in  poverty — marched  behind  the  hearse  en  route  to  the 
steamer  on  which  the  body  of  the  dead  leader  was  conveyed 
to  Ireland. 

O'Mahony  was  given  a  great  funeral,  like  Terence  Bellew 
McManus  in  1861,  and  later  James  Stephens,  Charles  Stewart 
Parnell  and  O'Donovan  Rossa,  but  in  New  York  he  was  prac- 
tically starving  for  several  months  before  his  death.  He  was  too 
proud  to  tell  his  dire  needs  and  only  a  few  faithful  followers, 
who  were  all  of  humble  means,  knew  his  actual  condition  and 
helped  him  to  the  utmost  of  their  ability.  He  lived  in  a  single 
room  in  a  tenement  house,  and  when  Dr.  Denis  Dowling  Mulcahy 
(one  of  the  Fenian  leaders  released  from  a  British  prison  a  few 
years  previously)  called  to  see  him,  he  found  him  in  bed  in  a 
cold  room,  with  a  grate,  but  no  coal  to  make  a  fire.  Mulcahy 
speedily  remedied  that  defect  and  brought  in  medicine,  but  it 
was  too  late  to  save  his  life.  Yet  the  English  press  and  many 
of  his  own  countrymen  were  telling  at  that  very  time  how  he 
was  rolling  in  wealth  from  the  "robbery  of  the  poor  Irish  servant 
girls".  But  the  fine  funeral  was  supposed  to  compensate  for  all 
this.  No  matter  how  the  Irish  treat  a  leader  when  living — and 
the  treatment  is  often  very  bad — they  never  fail  to  give  him 
decent  burial. 



A  Very  Able  Organizer,  with  Much  Influence  Over  Young  Men, 
but  Not  a  Great  Man — Very  Jealous  of  His  Authority. 

James  Stephens,  the  C.  O.  I.  R.  (Chief  Organizer  of  the  Irish 
Republic) ,  head  of  the  movement  in  Ireland,  was  a  very  clever 
man,  but  not  in  any  sense  a  great  one.  He  was  not  the  founder 
of  the  movement,  but  he  organized  it  and  made  it  what  it  was. 
He  had  fine  organizing  ability  and  much  influence  over  young 
men,  but  he  lacked  some  qualities  of  leadership  and  when  con- 
fronted by  unforeseen  difficulties,  due  to  the  Split  in  America, 
he  was  unable  to  cope  with  them  and  failed. 

Stephens  was  born  in  the  City  of  Kilkenny  in  1824,  and  was 
a  Civil  Engineer  by  profession.  He  was  only  24  when  the  failure 
of  William  Smith  O'Brien's  attempted  insurrection  in  1848  cut 
short  his  professional  career.  He  escaped  to  France,  where  he 
remained  about  nine  years. 

In  Chapter  II,  I  described  the  circumstances  of  Stephens' 
return  to  Ireland  in  1857,  and  the  feelings  of  despair  which 
prevailed  among  the  Republicans  whom  Denieffe  had  assembled 
at  a  meeting  in  Dublin.  Also,  how  Stephens  by  his  optimism 
not  alone  held  them  together,  but  injected  new  life  and  prog- 
ressiveness  into  the  Movement. 

On  St.  Patrick's  Day,  1858,  Stephens  established  the  Irish 
Republican  Brotherhood  and  soon  merged  into  it  the  small  revo- 
lutionary groups  that  were  then  in  existence.  The  vesting  of 
all  authority  in  Stephens  himself,  which  he  insisted  on,  was  the 
chief  strength  of  the  organization  in  its  early  stages,  because 
it  secured  unity  of  direction.  But,  as  we  have  seen,  it  proved  to 
be  its  undoing  when  the  real  crisis  came. 

Stephens  wrote  the  Oath,  and  beyond  that  there  was  no 
Constitution  or  law  under  which  the  organization  was  to  be 
governed.   It  was  as  follows: 

"I  (name)  do  solemnly  swear  allegiance  to  the  Irish  Re- 
public, now  virtually  established;  that  I  will  take  up  arms  at 
a  moment's  notice  to  defend  its  integrity  and  independence; 
that  I  will  yield  implicit  obedience  to  the  commands  of  my 
superior  officers,  and  finally  I  take  this  oath  in  the  spirit 
of  a  true  soldier  of  liberty.  So  help  me  God." 




There  were  several  slight  variations,  different  men  depending 
on  their  memory,  as  the  keeping  of  documents  was  forbidden, 
but  that  is  the  version  that  I  got  and  on  which  I  swore  in  sev- 
eral hundred  men,  and  I  believe  it  is  absolutely  correct.  It  was 
simplicity  itself,  and  ensured  blind  and  unquestioning  obedience 
to  Stephens'  authority. 

As  the  Movement  began  to  make  progress  he  remained 
mostly  in  Dublin,  living  in  lodgings  consisting  of  a  sitting  room 
and  bedroom.  Only  a  few  men  knew  where  to  find  him  and  they 
visited  him  frequently.  The  talks  were  always  informal,  Stephens 
throwing  in  a  sentence  or  two  occasionally.  He  always  treated 
each  guest  to  a  bottle  of  porter,  bringing  it  in  himself  and  serv- 
ing it  to  the  visitor. 

It  was  at  one  of  these  gatherings  that  I  met  him  first  in 
March,  1861,  when  I  was  about  to  start  for  France  to  enlist.  He 
tried  to  dissuade  me  from  going  and  advised  me  to  go  to  America 
instead,  offering  to  give  me  letters  of  introduction  to  John 
O'Mahony,  Colonel  Corcoran  and  Thomas  Francis  Meagher,  but 
I  had  set  my  heart  on  becoming  a  Zouave  (which  no  foreigner 
could  do  at  that  time) ,  and  like  most  other  people,  even  in 
America,  I  believed  that  the  Civil  War  would  only  last  a  few 
weeks  or  months.  All  young  Irishmen  at  that  time  believed 
the  French  army  to  be  the  ideal  one,  and  I  wanted  to  get  my 
training  in  it  for  the  fight  in  Ireland.  He  failed  to  convince 
me  and  I  was  told  after  I  had  left  that  he  said:  "That  young 
fellow  is  very  stubborn."  I  was  only  a  little  over  eighteen,  and 
he  probably  never  met  anyone  of  that  age  who  failed  to  be  per- 
suaded by  him. 

When  he  found  I  was  bent  on  going  to  France  and  had  al- 
ready secured  a  letter  of  introduction  from  T.  D.  Sullivan  to  J.  P. 
Leonard,  who  was  correspondent  of  the  Nation  in  Paris,  and  an- 
other to  John  Mitchel  (then  in  Paris)  from  Denis  Holland,  editor 
of  the  Irishman,  he  gave  up  trying  to  change  me  and  gave  me 
advice  about  Paris  that  would  be  useful  to  me.  John  Mitchel's 
address  on  Holland's  letter  was  in  the  Rue  de  l'Est,  and  I  wanted 
to  call  on  him  first,  so  Stephens  wrote  for  me  on  a  slip  of  paper 
what  I  should  say  in  asking  my  way.  It  was: 

"Ayez  la  bonte  m'indiquer  la  Rue  de  l'Est"  (Have  the  goodness 
to  show  me  the  way  to  the  Rue  de  l'Est). 

But  I  found  from  experience  that  Frenchmen  were  not  quite 
so  formal  in  asking  their  way. 

When  I  returned  to  Dublin  a  little  over  a  year  later,  I  was 
brought  to  see  Stephens  again  and  he  tested  me  in  French  and 



complimented  me  on  my  rapid  acquisition  of  a  working  knowl- 
edge of  the  language.  That  was  his  way  with  young  men  and 
it  was  one  of  his  methods  of  acquiring  influence  over  them. 
Most  of  the  young  men  who  met  him  thought  he  was  phenome- 
nally able  and  he  cultivated  that  belief  by  telling  them  stories 
about  his  accomplishments.  Luby  tells  how  he  claimed  to  be 
the  best  fiddler  among  thirty-two.  According  to  himself  he 
was  a  great  rifle  shot,  so  if  Dillon  had  not  restrained  him  at  Kil- 
lenaule  he  would  have  killed  the  Captain  of  the  Eighth  Hussars 
at  the  barricade.  As  Mitchel  put  it:  "one  moment,  and  Ireland 
was  in  insurrection". 

As  the  organization  grew  in  Dublin,  Stephens  stopped  re- 
ceiving visitors  at  his  own  rooms,  and  instead  paid  for  the  lodg- 
ings of  a  few  trusted  men,  and  he  held  his  receptions  in  their 
rooms.  The  chief  of  these  was  James  Flood,  whose  brother  Pat 
was  one  of  the  most  active  recruiters  among  the  Dublin  cork 
cutters.  I  was  informed  by  a  person  who  knew  Pat,  that  he 
was  still  alive  in  1916,  and  when  the  fight  began,  although  over 
80  years  of  age,  he  got  up  out  of  a  sick  bed  and  started  for  the 
Post  Office.  He  broke  down  and  was  found  lying  helpless  on 
the  steps  of  a  house  near  the  Rotunda  and  taken  home.  "Well, 
thanks  be  to  God,  I  lived  to  hear  the  shots  fired  for  Ireland," 
the  old  man  said. 

At  those  informal  gatherings  previously  mentioned,  "The  Cap- 
tain" always  talked  glowingly  of  conditions  in  the  country,  but 
seldom  went  into  details.  His  air  of  supreme  confidence  greatly 
impressed  the  men  and  they  always  went  away  satisfied.  He  led 
all  to  believe  that  the  organization  was  very  strong  and  rich  in 
resources,  and  the  general  result  of  his  talk  was  to  create  the 
belief  that  all  the  necessary  arms  would  come  from  America. 
This  discouraged  the  purchase  of  rifles,  which  could  be  made 
easily  in  England  in  the  early  'sixties,  as  the  Government  put 
no  restrictions  whatever  on  their  sale,  believing  that  another 
Insurrection  in  Ireland  was  wholly  out  of  the  question.  The 
men  devoted  all  their  energy  to  swearing  in  members  and  in 
many  places  to  drilling  them,  mostly  by  ex-soldiers  of  the  Brit- 
ish army. 

Stephens  about  1863  married  Miss  Jane  Hopper,  with  whose 
family  he  lived  at  that  time.  Her  brothers,  George,  Charles  and 
John,  were  all  members  of  the  organization,  but  were  not  very 
active  and  held  no  position  in  it.  George  kept  a  tailoring  estab- 
lishment in  Dame  Street,  near  the  Parliament  Street  end  of  it, 
and  Charles  a  cigar  shop  in  Henry  Street,  and  their  shops  were 
a  sort  of  rendezvous  for  the  members.   Charles  was  the  best  of 



the  three  and  married  Julia  O'Kelly,  sister  of  James  J.  O'Kelly. 
George  was  rather  pompous  in  manner,  and  John,  the  youngest, 
was  of  little  account. 

Stephens'  place  of  living  was  supposed  to  be  a  secret,  but 
on  a  visit  to  Dublin,  O'Kelly  learned  it  from  Charles  Hopper  and 
proposed  to  me  (we  were  boyhood  friends)  to  make  a  call  on  "The 
Captain".  As  I  could  see  him  any  time  I  wanted,  and  know- 
ing from  previous  talks  with  Stephens  that  O'Kelly  was  persona 
non  grata  with  him,  I  did  not  like  to  go,  but  O'Kelly  wanted  to 
have  a  "showdown"  on  his  position  in  London,  so  I  went  with 
him  and  introduced  him  to  Stephens.  He  received  O'Kelly  coolly, 
but  was  cordial  with  me.  The  first  question  he  asked  of  O'Kelly 
was:  "How  did  you  know  where  to  find  me?"  O'Kelly  replied 
evasively:  "I  suppose  it  was  intuitively."  Stephens  did  not  treat 
him  rudely,  but  his  cold  manner  left  no  doubt  of  his  dislike. 

On  my  next  visit  to  Dublin  I  saw  Stephens  at  one  of  the  regu- 
lar meeting  places,  and  he  was  very  sarcastic  about  O'Kelly, 
saying  he  was  "no  good".  I  defended  O'Kelly  and  pointed  out 
his  good  work  in  London.  Stephens  did  not  deny  it,  but  said: 
"Like  him  as  a  friend  as  much  as  you  please,  but  don't  believe 
in  him  as  an  Irishman.  Notice  his  Cockney  accent.  That  shows 
weakness.  I  spent  ten  years  in  Paris,  but  my  Kilkenny  accent  is 
as  good  as  ever.  Give  him  up."  I  did  not  give  him  up,  but 
appealed  to  other  men  for  help,  and  O'Kelly  was  eventually 

After  the  fight  had  been  finally  postponed  on  the  night  of 
Feb.  21,  '66,  Stephens  remained  in  Mrs.  Butler's  house  in  Kil- 
dare  St.,  up  to  the  middle  of  March  when  he  and  Colonel 
Kelly  started  for  the  United  States.  They  got  into  a  rowboat 
off  the  coal  quay  and  were  taken  down  the  river  to  a  small 
sailing  vessel  which  conveyed  them  to  Scotland,  where  they 
landed  in  safety  and  went  by  train  to  one  of  the  Southern 
English  ports,  undiscovered,  and  crossed  over  to  France,  whence 
they  started  for  New  York.  Captain  Nicholas  Weldon,  on  whose 
vessel  they  were  taken  away  from  Dublin,  later  wrote  a  very 
interesting  account  of  the  trip,  but  it  is  too  long  for  insertion 

Before  leaving  Dublin,  Stephens  appointed  Edward  Duffy,  who 
was  out  on  bail,  his  deputy  in  Ireland.  But  he  did  not  write  a 
single  letter  or  send  any  money  to  Duffy  during  the  whole 
period  of  his  absence  in  America,  although  he  boasted  at  a 
Fenian  picnic  in  Jones'  Wood,  New  York,  in  May,  1866,  that  he 
was  in  communication  with  every  county  in  Ireland  and  that 



the  Home  Organization  was  in  perfect  condition.  It  was  in  that 
speech  that  Stephens  said: 

"The  Irish  flag — the  flag  of  the  Irish  Republic — will  float 
in  an  Irish  breeze  before  New  Year's  Day,  1867." 

His  trip  to  America  was  a  complete  failure.  He  made  speeches 
in  several  cities,  in  which  he  indulged  in  the  same  kind  of  boast- 
ing, showing  that  he  had  lost  his  head;  he  attended  conferences 
to  bring  about  reunion  of  the  factions,  but  nothing  resulted 
therefrom,  although  P.  W.  Dunne,  one  of  the  best  of  the  Senate 
Party  leaders,  did  his  utmost  to  get  the  leaders  of  both  wings 
to  resign  and  to  elect  Stephens  as  leader  of  a  reunited  organi- 
zation. He  was  willing  to  forgive  Stephens  for  his  letter  to 
O'Mahony  the  previous  year,  but  the  objectionable  expression 
used  by  Stephens  left  in  others  wounds  which  were  too  deep  for 

Things  drifted  along  aimlessly  in  America  and  many  heated 
meetings  were  held  until  towards  the  close  of  1866,  when  a  con- 
ference of  the  refugees  of  the  I.  R.  B.  and  many  of  the  American 
officers  who  had  been  in  Ireland  was  held  in  New  York  and  pre- 
sided over  by  Stephens,  at  which  the  decision  was  taken  that 
the  fight  should  be  made  early  in  1867.  Those  present  had  no 
authority  to  make  the  decision,  but  they  not  only  made  it,  but 
compelled  Stephens  to  order  the  Rising.  At  the  next  meeting 
he  was  deposed  as  leader,  and  Colonel  Kelly  was  elected  in 
his  place. 

The  "men  of  action"  obtained  control  of  the  organization, 
the  remnant  of  the  funds,  and  of  some  thousands  of  rifles  which 
were  afterwards  sent  to  Ireland  on  the  Erin's  Hope,  and  arrived 
too  late  to  be  of  any  use  in  the  Rising.  General  Cluseret,  who 
had  been  a  Captain  of  the  French  army  and  had  risen  to  the 
rank  of  General  in  the  Union  Army;  General  Vifcain,  a  Bel- 
gian; and  General  Farioli,  a  Belgian  of  Italian  parentage,  ac- 
companied the  Irish-American  officers  on  that  expedition. 

Cluseret  later  wrote  in  Frazer's  Magazine  a  satirical  and 
somewhat  cynical  account  of  his  experiences,  in  which  he  dwelt 
on  the  utter  lack  of  preparation,  the  motive  of  the  men  being 
chiefly  to  "keep  their  word",  and  expressed  a  very  unfavor- 
able opinion  of  Stephens. 

Stephens  sailed  for  France,  and  after  living  in  that  coun- 
try for  many  years  he  was  expelled  by  Premier  Ferry.  His  expul- 
sion was  a  disgraceful  proceeding  that  will  forever  leave  a  blot 
on  Jules  Ferry's  name.  There  was  no  justification  whatever 
for  it,  and  it  came  about  in  this  way:  There  was  a  man  named 
Eugene  Davis  in  Paris  who  occasionally  wrote  poetry  in  the 



Irish  papers.  He  was  a  "spoiled  priest"  and  was  never  a  member 
of  the  Fenian  organization,  but  posed  with  the  English  corre- 
spondents as  an  authority  on  it.  During  the  dynamite  opera- 
tions in  the  early  'eighties  in  London  he  constantly  supplied 
them  with  fakes.  The  correspondent  of  the  London  Standard 
was  a  very  gullible  man  and  gave  Davis  £5  for  reports  of  meet- 
ings that  never  took  place.  Davis  wrote  a  fake  about  a  meeting 
of  dynamiters  on  an  island  in  the  Seine,  at  which  he  said  that 
Stephens  presided,  the  Standard  published  it,  and  the  English 
Government  at  once  demanded  that  the  French  Government 
expel  Stephens  from  France.  Jules  Ferry  complied  with  the  de- 
mand without  having  a  particle  of  evidence  that  any  such 
meeting  had  been  held,  and  the  old  man  was  escorted  by  police 
to  the  Swiss  frontier  while  the  blackguard  who  wrote  the  fake 
was  allowed  to  remain  in  Paris  to  ply  his  miserable  trade.  It  was 
a  cruel  blow  to  the  poor  old  man,  who  had  no  sympathy  with  the 
dynamite  performances  and  had  then  no  connection  with  any 
kind  of  Irish  movement. 

Davis  played  a  similar  trick  in  the  case  of  William  Mackey 
Lomasney  after  he  had  been  blown  to  atoms  in  an  explosion  at 
London  Bridge.  He  wrote  an  "interview"  with  "The  Little  Cap- 
tain", got  £5  for  it  from  the  Standard  correspondent  and  the 
paper  published  it.  It  was  cabled  to  the  New  York  Herald  and 
published  in  full.  Lomasney's  wife,  a  devoted  Irishwoman,  was 
completely  deceived  by  it,  with  very  bad  effects  on  her  mind. 
She  kept  a  little  stationery  store  in  Detroit  and  lived  in  a  small 
room  behind  it  and  was  getting  a  small  pension  from  the  Clan- 
na-Gael.  I  called  on  her  one  day,  and  she  told  me  she  was 
quite  sure  that  William  was  alive  and  in  prison.  Feeling  tired 
one  day  she  lay  down  on  the  bed  and  while  half  asleep  imagined 
she  saw  his  figure  standing  inside  the  door, — he  had  no  beard, 
and  that  showed  that  he  must  be  in  prison,  as  he  always  wore 
one.  I  told  her  the  facts  about  his  death  and  that  of  his  brother 
and  a  man  named  Fleming  who  lost  their  lives  with  him.  She 
told  me  I  was  mistaken,  went  to  the  drawer  of  a  little  table, 
took  out  a  clipping  from  the  Herald  and  showed  it  to  me  as 
proof  that  he  was  still  alive.  I  told  her  all  about  Davis,  but  I 
wasted  my  breath.  She  knew  nothing  about  newspapers  or  how 
easily  the  best  of  them  are  deceived  by  fakers  and  continued  to 
believe  up  to  her  death  that  her  husband  was  still  living.  The 
Irish  movement  has  been  always  cursed  by  fellows  like  Davis 
hanging  on  the  skirts  of  it  who  humbug  the  newspapers  with 
stories  that  have  no  foundation  at  all, — to  make  a  little  money. 

In  the  early  'eighties,  I  think  it  was,  a  Bordeaux  wine  house 
appointed  Stephens  its  agent  in  New  York,  in  the  belief  that 



his  popularity  would  bring  trade,  but  the  attempt  proved  a  com- 
plete failure.  He  got  plenty  of  newspaper  notice  and  the  office 
he  opened  was  for  a  time  crowded  with  visitors,  but  they  were 
not  the  class  of  man  who  drink  wine  and  they  could  give  him 
no  help  to  make  sales.  They  were  mostly  old  Fenians  who  still 
believed  in  him  and  they  used  the  opportunity  to  make  an  at- 
tempt to  restore  him  to  the  leadership.  But  that  failed  more 
miserably  than  the  wine  agency.  Stephens'  day  was  gone  and 
after  a  few  months  he  returned  to  Europe. 

Stephens  remained  In  Switzerland  for  some  years,  and  then 
the  English  Government  permitted  him  to  return  to  Ireland.  In 
his  later  days  he  wrote  a  series  of  articles  for  the  Freeman, 
giving  his  Recollections  of  the  movement,  but  there  was  little 
of  any  value  in  them.  He  was  an  admirable  writer  of  short 
letters,  but  a  very  poor  hand  at  long  articles;  he  spread  out  too 
much  and  attempted  style  at  which  he  did  not  succeed.  The 
Dublin  Freeman's  Journal  paid  him  for  these  contributions,  and 
that  helped  him  to  keep  himself  comfortable  for  a  while. 
Finally,  that  paper  collected  a  fund  for  him,  which  kept  the 
wolf  from  the  door  until  he  died  in  Blackrock,  County  Dublin, 
April  29,  1901. 

Stephens  was  not  a  good  speaker,  and  that  is  a  bad  handicap 
to  an  Irish  leader.  He  had  a  fairly  good  voice  and  in  the  earlier 
days  of  the  movement  occasionally  indulged  in  singing.  He 
could  sing  "The  Marseillaise"  pretty  well,  but  his  favorite  song 
was  James  Clarence  Mangan's  translation  of  Koerner's  "Hymn 
of  Freedom": 

"Yes,  Freedom's  war,  though  the  deadly  strife 
Makes  earth  one  charnel  boneyard, 
Though  the  last  fond  kiss  to  the  child  and  wife 
And  the  last  firm  grasp  of  the  poinard. 
We  all  have  had  too  much  of  love, 
Let  us  now  try  a  spell  of  hatred." 

I  often  heard  a  group  of  Dublin  men  chanting  the  chorus. 
O'Donovan  Rossa,  who  did  not  sing,  translated  it  into  Irish,  and 
gave  me  a  copy  of  it  in  Chatham  Prison,  but  I  could  not  keep  it. 

As  a  successful  organizer,  Stephens  holds  a  prominent  place 
among  those  who  in  numerous  generations  endeavored  to  direct 
Ireland's  efforts  towards  the  achievement  of  national  Indepen- 
dence. While  his  unfortunate  decision  against  starting  the  fight 
in  1865  or  early  in  1866  prevented  that  final  act  which  might 
then  have  brought  to  fruition  his  splendid  work  of  the  pre- 
vious eight  years,  the  blame  for  that  must  in  large  measure  be 
attributed  to  the  Split  among  the  Fenian  Brotherhood  in  Amer- 



ica,  and  the  failure  of  that  organization  to  supply  the  arms  on 
which  Stephens  so  confidently  relied. 

At  all  events,  the  extent  to  which  he  propagated  the  princi- 
ples of  Fenianism  made  an  indelible  impress  on  the  national 
consciousness  of  Ireland.  During  the  third  of  a  century  after 
1867,  he  lived  to  see  other  policies  gradually  advance  to  the 
political  forefront  in  Ireland;  he  died  15  years  before  the 
national  resurrection.  In  his  declining  years  his  existence  was 
practically  forgotten;  yet,  on  his  death,  his  fellow  countrymen 
paid  a  striking  tribute  to  his  memory.  It  was  not  so  impos- 
ing as  those  which  marked  the  interment  of  Terence  Bellew 
McManus  in  1861  or  of  John  O'Mahony  in  1877.  Yet  it  provided 
another  reminder  to  the  new  generation  of  those  ideals  for  which 
the  Fenians  stood;  for  which  many  of  them  laid  down  their 
lives  or  lingered  long  years  in  British  dungeons  and  penal  colo- 
nies, and  for  which  Allen,  Larkin  and  O'Brien  died  on  an  English 

The  last  honor  paid  to  Stephens  was  to  place  his  remains 
side  by  side  with  those  of  some  of  his  notable  Fenian  comrades 
of  the  '67  period,  in  the  Patriots'  Plot,  Glasnevin. 



Literary  Man  and  Critic,  Rather  Than  an  Active  Worker — His 
Work  Mainly  as  Editor  of  the  "Irish  People" — Later  became 
Head  of  the  Reorganized  I.  R.  B. 

John  O'Leary,  one  of  the  three  most  prominent  men  in  the 
Fenian  Movement  in  Ireland  after  James  Stephens,  was  not  an 
active  worker  in  it  and  did  not  take  the  oath  of  membership. 
He  was  released  from  the  obligation  by  James  Stephens,  who 
trusted  in  his  honor.  The  men  of  the  reorganized  movement  fol- 
lowed the  example  of  Stephens — even  to  the  extent  of  electing 
O'Leary  Chairman  of  the  Supreme  Council.  In  both  cases  it  was 
a  tribute  to  his  high  character  and  many  men  outside  the  Organ- 
ization who  did  not  believe  in  its  policy  shared  that  estimate 
of  him. 

Born  in  the  town  of  Tipperary  in  1830,  his  father  was  a  suc- 
cessful merchant  who  was  able  to  give  his  children  a  good 
education  and  make  ample  provision  for  their  future.  He  left 
each  of  them  a  small  income  which  placed  them  beyond  the 
necessity  of  working  for  a  living.  John's  income  when  I  met  him 
in  1879  was  £150  a  year;  his  sister  Ellen's  £80,  Edmund's  and  a 
younger  sister's  £50,  and  the  others  in  similar  proportions.  The 
income  was  derived  from  house  property  in  the  town  of  Tip- 
perary, and  that  had  some  influence  on  his  attitude  towards 
landlordism  in  the  days  of  the  Land  League.  When  the  organi- 
zation needed  money  the  family  lent  it  £1,000  and  never  got  it 

He  was  first  sent  to  Carlow  College  and  from  there  to  Trinity, 
where  his  graduation  was  prevented  by  his  participation  in  the 
Young  Ireland  Movement,  and  after  its  failure  he  finished  his 
education  in  the  Queen's  College  in  Galway. 

I  am  not  writing  the  Life  of  John  O'Leary,  but  only  the  record 
of  his  connection  with  Fenianism  and  my  personal  experiences 
with  him,  and  I  must  refer  my  readers  to  his  own  book,  "Recol- 
lections of  Fenians  and  Fenianism",  for  the  particulars  of  his 


He  was  living  in  London  when  Stephens  decided  to  start  the 
Irish  People  and  selected  him  as  Editor.  He  came  over  to  Dublin 
and  lived  there  until  the  paper  was  suppressed  on  September  15, 





1865,  and  he  was  arrested  and  later  tried  and  sentenced  to  twenty 
years'  penal  servitude.  Lord  John  Russell,  the  author  of  the 
Treason-Felony  Act,  intended  it  to  degrade  John  Mitchel  and 
class  all  England's  enemies  in  Ireland  as  ordinary  criminals. 
That  was  the  meaning  of  the  second  half  of  the  term.  Charles 
Underwood  O'Connell,  when  brought  before  Governor  Clifton  of 
Portland  Prison  on  some  trivial  charge,  referred  to  himself  as  a 
political  prisoner,  and  the  Governor  replied:  "England  has  no 
political  prisoners.  You  are  a  Treason-Felony  convict."  That 
was  the  spirit  of  the  England  of  that  day  and  it  was  illustrated 
by  my  first  sight  of  John  O'Leary  in  Portland  Prison.  I  knew 
Thomas  Clarke  Luby  very  well,  but  had  never  met  O'Leary, 
although  I  had  seen  him  often  going  in  and  out  of  the  Irish 
People  office — always  with  a  book  in  his  hand.  When  I  got  to 
Portland  about  January,  1868,  I  was  assigned  to  a  cell  on  the 
second  tier  of  the  small  building  occupied  by  the  Penal  Class 
prisoners.  As  my  door  was  opened  early  the  following  morning 
to  empty  my  slops  into  a  big  bucket  carried  by  two  convicts  I 
saw  two  other  convicts  on  the  ground  floor  on  the  other  side  of 
the  building  carrying  a  similar  bucket,  or  tub,  with  a  short  pole 
inserted  in  the  two  handles.  I  had  never  seen  O'Leary  without 
his  fine  dark  beard,  but  I  recognized  him  and  Luby  at  once  as 
the  carriers  of  the  slop  receptacle.  They  were  moving  from  cell 
to  cell,  with  a  weary,  but  resigned  look  on  their  faces  as  some 
of  the  worst  criminals  in  England  emptied  their  cell  pots  into 
the  bucket.  That  was  England's  way  of  treating  refined  and 
highly  educated  Irish  gentlemen  who  opposed  her  rule  in  Ireland. 

I  was  introduced  to  O'Leary  by  Luby  on  the  following  Sunday 
at  exercise  when  the  prisoners  walked  in  pairs  and  were  allowed 
to  choose  their  own  companions  and  change  them  at  will.  I  was 
able  to  give  them  an  account  of  all  that  had  happened  in  the 
five  months  between  their  arrest  and  my  own,  and  much  that  I 
had  heard  from  other  prisoners  in  Mountjoy  who  had  come  in 
later,  and  to  exchange  views  on  events  and  individuals. 

But  my  intimate  acquaintance  with  O'Leary  began  in  1879 
in  Paris,  where  he  lived  during  his  exile.  I  made  Paris  my  head- 
quarters and  kept  my  trunks  and  papers  there  while  making 
trips  to  Ireland  and  England.  During  my  time  in  Paris  I  dined 
with  him  every  day  and  passed  several  hours  in  his  company, 
sometimes  with  J.  P.  Leonard,  who  was  then  a  teacher  of  English 
at  the  Sorbonne,  and  sometimes  with  others,  but  usually  we 
were  by  ourselves.  We  discussed  the  incidents  and  the  men 
of  the  Movement  fully  and  freely  and  I  became  very  familiar 
with  his  views  on  everything.  We  differed  strongly  in  regard  to 
the  Land  Movement,  but  never  quarrelled  over  it. 



In  many  ways  O'Leary  was  the  most  interesting  man  I  had 
ever  met.  He  had  a  thorough  knowledge  of  French  literature  as 
well  as  English,  and  spoke  the  language  with  great  ease,  but 
could  never  pronounce  the  French  "u"  correctly  and  never  tried. 
He  lived  in  a  large  room  in  the  Latin  quarter  in  which  there 
was  space  for  little  but  books.  There  were  books  everywhere. 
Shelves  covered  a  whole  side  of  the  room  and  they  were  all  filled 
with  books  piled  without  any  idea  of  regularity  or  classification. 
There  were  a  lot  of  books  on  the  floor  under  the  shelves,  a  couple 
of  tables  were  covered  with  them;  they  were  piled  on  chairs,  and 
there  was  no  attempt  at  order  anywhere.  But  O'Leary  always 
knew  where  to  find  the  book  he  wanted.  They  were  all  English 
and  French  and  there  were  a  lot  of  old  magazines.  It  was  the 
room  of  a  bookworm  who  did  little  else  than  read. 

His  reading  of  newspapers  was  done  mostly  in  the  restaurants 
or  cafes  where  he  ate,  and  there  he  got  them  free.  He  never 
lived  in  a  pension  where  meals  were  supplied,  but  always  ate  in 
a  cheap  restaurant.  He  lived  very  frugally.  There  was  then  in 
Paris  a  chain  of  Duval  restaurants  where  one  could  get  a  good 
dinner  of  soup,  one  course  of  meat  with  vegetables  and  a  pint 
of  claret  for  35  or  40  sous,  and  he  ate  his  dinner  mostly  in  them, 
but  took  breakfast  in  a  cheaper  one.  His  coffee  he  always  took 
in  a  cafe  where  it  was  better  and  smoked  his  pipe  and  read  his 
papers  there. 

He  had  no  social  life  in  Paris,  though  he  knew  a  lot  of  men, 
both  French  and  foreign,  but  he  only  met  them  in  cafes.  I 
never  heard  of  him  visiting  a  French  family,  and  he  only  knew 
the  French  people  through  his  reading  and  his  occasional  meet- 
ings with  prominent  men.  He  was  a  poor  judge  of  French 
politics  and  his  leanings  were  towards  the  Orleanists,  not  through 
sympathy  with  that  branch  of  the  Bourbons,  but  because  he 
thought  their  politicians  were  more  liberal.  He  was  opposed  to 
all  kinds  of  extremists  and  was  not  either  a  Republican  or  an 
anti-Republican.  He  thought  there  was  so  little  difference  be- 
tween a  moderate  Republic  and  a  liberal  limited  Monarchy  that 
it  would  not  be  worth  while  to  change  from  one  to  the  other. 
He  was  for  a  Republic  in  Ireland  because  it  was  the  aim  of  the 
Fenian  Movement  and  there  was  no  King  in  sight.  But  he  would 
have  accepted  Repeal  of  the  Union  if  he  could  be  sure  that 
England  would  keep  her  hands  off.  He  had  no  positive  political 
opinions  at  all,  except  that  he  wanted  Ireland  to  be  free. 

He  and  I  visited  the  Chamber  of  Deputies  at  Versailles  one 
day  when  there  was  an  important  debate  going  on  and  we  heard 
several  speeches  of  leading  men.   Marcere  was  then  Minister  of 



the  Interior  and  it  was  his  department  that  was  under  fire.  I 
told  him  when  coming  out  that  the  debate  foreshadowed  the  fall 
of  the  existing  Government,  and  it  fell  in  a  few  days,  but  O'Leary 
thought  the  debate  was  unimportant.  Having  been  for  some  time 
in  charge  of  the  foreign  desk  on  the  New  York  Herald  where  I 
read  the  leading  Paris  papers,  I  was  familiar  with  the  political 
situation  in  France,  but  O'Leary  was  more  concerned  with  French 
literature  than  French  politics. 

He  had  a  hobby  that  no  man  was  fit  for  leadership  unless  he 
had  received  a  college  education  and  he  thought  me  prejudiced 
when  I  told  him  that  some  of  the  greatest  men  in  history,  espe- 
cially in  ancient  and  mediaeval  times,  were  wholly  illiterate. 
But,  of  course,  I  admitted  the  advantages  of  a  college  training. 
He  put  me  through  a  sort  of  cross-examination  as  to  my  training 
and  reading,  and  when  I  told  him  I  had  read  Sallust  in  English, 
Schlegel's  "Philosophy  of  History",  Hallam's  "Middle  Ages", 
Gibbon's  "Decline  and  Fall  of  the  Roman  Empire",  Edmund 
Burke's  speeches,  Lecky's  "Leaders  of  Public  Opinion  in  Ireland" 
and  his  "History  of  England  in  the  Eighteenth  Century",  all  the 
English  poets,  and  Robert  Burns,  Voltaire's  "Age  de  Louis  Qua- 
torze",  Madame  de  Stael's  "L'Allemagne",  Moliere's  Comedies, 
Racine,  Boileau,  some  of  Balzac's  stories,  practically  all  those  of 
Alexandre  Dumas,  and  a  lot  of  French  novels,  Rancke's  "Lives 
of  the  Popes",  all  of  Sir  Walter  Scott's  works,  including  his  "Life 
of  Napoleon",  most  of  Dickens,  all  the  Irish  novels,  and  a  long 
list  of  other  books,  he  looked  satisfied  and  said:  "You  have 

John  O'Leary  was  unalterably  opposed  to  Parliamentary  agi- 
tation and  to  Nationalists  entering  the  British  Parliament,  but 
was  very  tolerant  of  men  who  held  a  different  opinion,  provided 
they  were  not  Fenians.  In  1877,  when  Dr.  Carroll  of  Philadel- 
phia (who  was  then  Chairman  of  the  Executive  of  the  Clan-na- 
Gael)  went  over  as  an  Envoy  to  the  Home  Organization,  he  ar- 
ranged a  conference  with  Parnell  in  a  London  hotel.  James 
J.  O'Kelly  was  with  Parnell,  and  he  and  O'Leary  had  a  sharp 
difference  of  opinion  over  John  O'Connor  Power,  of  whom  O'Kelly 
was  an  old  friend.  The  difference  prevented  a  formal  agreement 
with  Parnell,  who  was  quite  willing  to  come  to  an  understanding 
with  Dr.  Carroll.  O'Leary's  voice  was  loud  and  resonant  and  in 
the  heat  of  argument  it  became  louder.  The  person  in  the 
next  room  scraped  his  feet  loudly  on  the  floor  as  a  warning  that 
the  discussion  was  overheard,  and  Dr.  Carroll  was  informed  later 
that  the  occupant  of  the  room  was  Mr.  Gibson  who  afterwards 
became  Lord  Ashbourne.  It  was  a  friendly  act.  Gibson  at  the 
time  was  a  British  official  in  Ireland. 



Early  in  1879,  Michael  Davitt  arranged  an  interview  in 
Boulogne  between  Parnell  and  me,  and  in  order  to  have  a  witness 
against  probable  misrepresentation  I  informed  Davitt  that  I 
would  ask  Mr.  O'Leary  to  come  with  me.  He  told  Parnell  of  this 
and  the  latter  brought  Joe  Biggar  with  him.  We  met  them  at  the 
boat  from  Folkestone  and  our  first  talk  was  in  a  little  park  ad- 
joining the  quay.  Almost  the  first  words  uttered  by  Parnell  were: 

"The  last  time  I  met  O'Leary  he  'started  a  hare'  in  the 
person  of  John  O'Connor  Power,  and  we  were  kept  so  busy  chasing 
that  hare  that  we  had  no  time  for  anything  else.  Now  I  hope 
Mr.  O'Leary  won't  start  a  hare  this  time." 

He  spoke  in  a  half  jocular  tone  and  O'Leary  smiled,  but  said 
nothing.  But  he  did  not  start  a  hare.  He  was  discussing  abstract 
questions  (mainly  about  religion)  with  Biggar,  who  had  answered 
my  statement  that  I  was  sorry  he  had  turned  Catholic,  and  I 
availed  myself  of  the  opportunity  to  give  Parnell  some  informa- 
tion. Biggar  asked  sharply,  "Why?"  and  I  replied  that  he  could 
be  more  useful  as  a  Presbyterian.  "Now,"  I  said,  "when  young 
Protestants  in  Ulster  showed  a  tendency  towards  Nationality  their 
mothers  would  say  to  them:  'The  next  thing  we'll  know  is  that 
you've  turned  Papish  like  Joe  Biggar.' " 

"And  what  about  my  soul?"  asked  Biggar. 

"Oh,  I'd  be  willing  to  see  you  damned  for  the  sake  of  Ireland," 
I  said  jocularly. 

Biggar  laughed  and  then  he  and  O'Leary  began  a  discussion 
of  the  Presbyterian  doctrine  of  Predestination. 

O'Leary  had  a  personal  liking  for  Parnell,  and  the  interview 
paved  the  way  for  the  full  working  agreement  I  made  with 
Parnell  in  Morrison's  Hotel,  Dublin,  on  the  Sunday  before  he 
went  to  Westport  and  told  the  Mayo  farmers  to  "keep  a  firm  grip 
of  their  holdings". 

O'Leary  and  I  returned  to  Paris  by  way  of  Arras.  He  wanted 
to  see  the  Public  Square  there— La  Place— because  of  the  old 
stone  buildings  on  it— some  of  them  erected  as  early  as  the 
Thirteenth  Century— and  I  myself  wished  to  see  the  town  which 
Owen  Roe  O'Neill  had  defended  for  the  Spaniards  in  the  historic 
siege  against  Henry  IV.  Owen  Roe  was  honored  by  the  gallant 
French  for  his  great  defense  by  being  allowed  to  march  his 
men  out  with  arms  in  their  hands  and  colors  flying,  between  two 
lines  of  French  soldiers  presenting  arms.  Some  of  the  officers 
under  O'Neill  afterwards  fought  at  Benburb.  Arras  was  then 
part  of  Flanders  and  under  Spanish  rule. 



I  also  wished  to  see  the  battlefield  of  Bapaume,  where  my  old 
commander,  General  Faidherrbe,  defeated  the  Germans  in  1871, 
thus  saving  Havre,  through  which  the  French  received  their 
American  supplies.  When  I  was  in  the  Foreign  Legion  in  1861, 
Faidherrbe  was  a  Colonel  of  Engineers  and  in  command  of  the 
sub-division  of  Sidi-bal-Abbes.  The  son  of  a  widow  who  kept  a 
little  debit  de  tabac  in  Lille,  he  was  known  to  be  a  Republican 
and  was  kept  by  the  Empire  in  Algeria  and  Senegal  where  he 
did  some  splendid  engineering  work.  His  signature  was  one  of 
those  on  my  discharge. 

We  were  in  time  for  a  very  good  table  d'hote,  which  cost  only 
two  francs,  at  a  hotel  near  the  railroad  station,  and  then  started 
out  to  see  the  mediaeval  buildings  on  the  Public  Square,  in  which 
families  were  still  living.  O'Leary  wore  a  billycock  hat  turned 
up  at  the  sides,  had  a  knapsack  on  his  back,  which  he  always 
carried  during  his  walking  expeditions,  and  carried  a  local  guide 
book  in  his  hand.  He  read  for  me  the  descriptions  of  the  old 
houses  and  examined  them  critically.  As  we  talked  in  English 
we  soon  attracted  a  crowd  of  boys.  The  English  tourist,  with 
his  "strike  me  blind"  tweed  suit,  is  always  a  subject  of  fun  for 
French  boys,  and  the  group  of  street  gamins,  growing  larger  as 
we  slowly  made  our  way,  cried  out  in  chorus:  "Ainglishman;  oh, 
yes;  God  damn,  Ainglishman;  oh,  yes;  God  damn."  As  the 
volume  of  juvenile  voices  increased,  I  got  tired  of  it  and  slipped 
back  to  the  middle  of  the  Square,  but  O'Leary  paid  no  more 
attention  to  it  than  if  so  many  flies  were  buzzing  around  him 
and  placidly  finished  his  examination. 

We  walked  to  Bapaume  and  I  got  a  peasant  (who  happened 
to  be  an  old  soldier  who  took  part  in  the  battle)  to  show  us  the 
battlefield  and  then  went  to  Beauvais,  where  there  is  a  Cathedral 
that  O'Leary  wanted  to  see.  He  never  missed  a  chance  to  see  a 
Cathedral,  but  the  one  in  Beauvais  cannot  compare  with  that 
of  Amiens  or  the  two  in  Rouen. 

I  have  said  that  O'Leary  did  not  know  the  French  people, 
but  he  had  learned  on  his  walking  trips  that  in  any  farmer's 
house  one  could  get  a  cup  of  good  coffee  very  cheap,  so  we  went 
to  the  door  of  one  and  asked  could  we  get  a  cup.  "Certainly," 
said  a  tall  old  man,  and  he  showed  us  to  a  seat  at  a  table  in 
the  front  room  and  in  a  few  minutes  brought  us  two  bowls  of 
cafe  au  lait,  with  a  long  roll  of  bread.  We  did  not  need  the  bread, 
but  enjoyed  the  splendid  coffee  while  O'Leary  smoked  his  pipe 
and  rested  from  the  walk  and  I  smoked  a  cigar.  The  cost  of  the 
coffee  was  only  ten  sous. 

One  of  the  stories  O'Leary  told  me  in  Paris  was  illustrative  of 
old  times  in  Tipperary.  A  friend  came  to  see  his  father  and  they 



were  having  a  glass  of  punch  together.  The  friend,  noticing  that 
John  was  getting  none,  asked:  "Why  don't  you  give  the  boy  a 
drink?"  "Oh,  he's  too  young,"  said  his  father,  and  the  friend 
replied:  "You'll  rue  the  day  that  you  didn't  make  that  boy's 
head  while  he  was  young." 

After  my  return  to  New  York,  O'Leary  and  I  corresponded 
regularly.  Shortly  after  Parnell's  return  to  Ireland  in  1880 
O'Leary  came  to  America  as  an  Envoy,  and  we  gave  him  an 
opportunity  of  seeing  the  men  for  himself.  He  had  an  idea  that 
it  was  only  the  leaders  who  endorsed  the  Land  League  and  that 
it  would  be  an  easy  thing  to  wean  the  rank  and  file  away  from  it. 
I  gave  him  a  chance  of  trying  by  getting  a  large  reunion  of  the 
Clan-na-Gael  called  in  New  York  to  hear  him.  I  introduced  him 
to  the  men,  many  of  whom  were  old  members  of  the  I.  R.  B.  in 
Ireland  and  very  largely  farmers'  sons.  O'Leary  was  not  a  good 
speaker.  He  spoke  slowly  and  hesitated  often,  but  his  sentences 
were  as  perfect  as  if  he  had  written  them. 

He  pleaded  for  the  old  Fenian  policy  of  abstention  from  all 
Constitutional  agitation  and  described  the  programme  of  the 
Land  League  as  unsound  and  immoral.  The  men  listened  quietly, 
but  his  speech  chilled  them.  There  were  several  good  speakers 
of  the  plain  kind  at  the  meeting  and  one  after  another  they  gave 
their  views.  Not  one  of  them  agreed  with  him  and  all  favored 
the  Land  League  as  a  means  of  preparing  the  way  for  a  free 
Ireland.  When  they  had  all  spoken  I  replied  to  him  in  a  respect- 
ful manner,  but  pointed  out  the  error  of  his  contentions.  I  was 
vigorously  applauded,  and  O'Leary  stood  up  again  and  tried  to 
refute  some  of  my  arguments,  but  he  made  no  impression  on  the 
gathering.  He  had  had  no  experience  in  debate  and  no  talent 
for  it,  and  his  second  speech  amounted  to  a  complaint  that  it 
was  unfair  to  him  to  put  him  in  such  a  disadvantageous  position. 
The  meeting  then  proceeded  on  the  usual  lines  of  Clan-na-Gael 
reunions,  with  songs  and  recitations,  which  pleased  him  greatly. 
But  after  that  he  made  no  attempt  to  convert  our  men  from 
support  of  the  Land  League. 

John  O'Leary  was  placed  on  trial  in  Green  Street  Courthouse, 
immediately  after  Luby  had  been  sentenced  on  November  27, 
1865.  He  stepped  proudly  into  the  dock,  looking  scornfully  at  the 
Judges  (Keogh  and  Fitzgerald)  and  was  duly  arraigned.  He  was 
then  35  years  of  age,  and  was  a  very  striking  figure,  with  a  hand- 
some face,  fine  eyes  and  wearing  a  full,  dark  beard.  Conviction 
was  a  foregone  conclusion,  with  partisan  judges,  promoted  for 
service  to  the  Government,  and  a  packed  jury. 

When  asked  if  he  had  anything  to  say  why  sentence  should 
not  be  imposed  on  him  he  said: 



"I  was  not  wholly  unprepared  for  this  verdict,  because  I 
felt  that  the  government  which  could  so  safely  pack  the 
bench  could  not  fail  to  make  sure  of  its  verdict." 

Mr.  Justice  Fitzgerald:  "We  are  willing  to  hear  anything 
in  reason  from  you,  but  we  cannot  allow  language  of  that 
kind  to  be  used." 

Mr.  O'Leary:  "My  friend,  Mr.  Luby,  did  not  wish  to  touch 
on  this  matter  from  a  natural  fear,  lest  he  should  do  any 
harm  to  the  other  political  prisoners;  but  there  can  be  but 
little  fear  of  that  now,  for  a  jury  has  been  found  to  con- 
vict me  of  this  conspiracy  upon  the  evidence.  Mr.  Luby  ad- 
mitted that  he  was  technically  guilty  according  to  British 
law;  but  I  say  that  it  is  only  by  the  most  torturing  inter- 
pretation that  these  men  could  make  out  their  case  against 
me.  With  reference  to  this  conspiracy  there  has  been  much 
misapprehension  in  Ireland,  and  serious  misapprehension. 
Mr.  Justice  Keogh  said  in  his  charge  against  Mr.  Luby  that 
men  would  be  always  found  ready,  for  money,  or  for  some 
other  motive,  to  place  themselves  at  the  disposal  of  the  gov- 
ernment; but  I  think  the  men  who  have  been  general^ 
bought  in  this  way,  and  who  certainly  made  the  best  of  the 
bargain,  were  agitators,  and  not  rebels.  I  have  to  say  one 
word  in  reference  to  the  foul  charge  upon  which  that  miser- 
able man,  Barry,  had  made  me  responsible." 

Mr.  Justice  Fitzgerald:  "We  cannot  allow  that  tone  of 

Mr.  O'Leary  (continued) :  "That  man  has  charged  me 
— I  need  not  defend  myself  or  my  friends  from  the  charge. 
I  shall  merely  denounce  the  moral  assassin.  Mr.  Justice 
Keogh,  the  other  day,  spoke  of  revolutions,  and  adminis- 
tered a  lecture  to  Mr.  Luby.  He  spoke  of  cattle  being  driven 
away,  and  of  houses  being  burned  down,  that  men  would 
be  killed,  and  so  on.  I  would  like  to  know  if  all  that  does 
not  apply  to  war,  as  well  as  to  revolution?  One  word  more, 
and  I  shall  have  done.  I  have  been  found  guilty  of  treason, 
or  of  treason-felony.  Treason  is  a  foul  crime.  The  poet 
Dante  consigned  traitors  to,  I  believe,  the  ninth  circle  of 
hell;  but  what  kind  of  traitors?  Traitors  against  the  king, 
against  country,  against  friends  and  benefactors.  England 
is  not  my  country;  I  have  betrayed  no  friend,  no  benefactor. 
Sidney  and  Emmet  were  legal  traitors,  Jeffreys  was  a  loyal 
man,  and  so  was  Norbury.  I  leave  the  matter  there." 



A  Man  of  Fine  Literary  Ability  and  Devotion  to  the  Cause  of 
Irish  Independence — Sacrificed  his  Prospects  of  Success 
in  Life  in  its  Service: — Details  of  Prison  Life  of  the  Irish 

Thomas  Clarke  Luby,  like  his  colleagues,  John  O'Leary  and 
Charles  J.  Kickham,  was  a  man  of  fine  literary  attainments  and 
wide  reading.  A  little  older  than  they,  he  took  part  in  the  Young 
Ireland  movement  and  was  personally  acquainted  with  all  its 
leaders.  His  father  was  a  Protestant  minister  and  a  Fellow  of 
Trinity  College,  and  all  the  avenues  of  advancement  were  open 
to  him  if  he  was  loyal  to  the  British  Government.  But  he  threw 
away  all  his  chances  of  success  in  life  by  joining  the  'Forty- 
Eight  Movement.  In  this  he  was  like  all  the  Fenian  leaders, 
whose  spirit  of  self-sacrifice  was  their  most  conspicuous  quality. 
He  belonged  to  the  most  extreme  section  of  the  movement,  and 
was  a  follower  first  of  John  Mitchel  and  later  of  James  Fintan 
Lalor,  with  whose  doctrines  on  the  Land  Question  he  was  in  full 

Although  his  father  was  a  Protestant  minister,  his  mother 
was  a  Catholic — a  very  rare  combination  anywhere  and  unheard 
of  until  then  in  Ireland.  And  she  was  a  militant  Catholic  at 
that,  and  in  constant  controversy  with  her  husband's  relatives, 
who,  though  not  bigots,  used  to  tease  her  on  religion  for  amuse- 
ment. Her  son,  Thomas,  married  a  Presbyterian,  Letitia  Frazer, 
daughter  of  "Jean  de  Jean"  Frazer,  one  of  the  minor  poets  of 
the  old  Nation  and  perhaps  the  most  anti-English  of  them  all. 
The  intensity  of  his  Nationalism  may  be  judged  by  these  lines: 

"What  hatred  of  perverted  might 

The  cruel  hand  inspires 
That  robs  the  linnet's  eye  of  light 
To  make  it  sing  both  day  and  night, 

Yet  so  they  robbed  our  sires. 
Denial  met  our  just  demands 

And  hatred  met  our  love, 
Till  now,  by  Heaven,  for  grasp  of  hands 
We'll  give  them  clash  of  battle  brands 

And  gauntlet  'stead  of  glove. 
And  may  the  Saxon  stamp  his  heel 

Upon  the  coward's  front 
Who  sheathes  his  own  unbroken  steel 
Until  for  mercy  tyrants  kneel 

Who  forced  us  to  the  brunt." 





Frazer's  sires  came  from  the  Scottish  Highlands,  not  from 
the  King's  County,  where  he  was  born.  They  probably  came  to 
Ulster  with  James  the  First's  Plantation  and  found  their  way 
down  to  Offaly.  But  the  Frazers  were  Gaels. 

The  "clash  of  battle  brands"  which  Frazer  promised  did  not 
come  in  his  time,  nor  in  that  of  his  children,  and  the  tyrant  was 
never  compelled  to  "kneel  for  mercy".  Our  warrior  poets  are 
always  a  little  too  sanguine.  But  they  keep  the  fighting  spirit 
alive,  all  the  same.  Ireland  had  to  wait  until  Easter  Week,  1916, 
for  the  vindication  of  the  fighting  spirit  of  the  race.  That  was 
fully  accomplished  when  less  than  a  thousand  Irish  Volunteers, 
including  a  company  of  the  Citizen  Army,  armed  only  with 
rifles,  revolvers  and  shot  guns,  defied  a  fully  equipped  English 
army  which  was  reinforced  to  a  total  of  40,000  men, — and  stood 
their  ground  for  six  days. 

But  as  strongly  as  Frazer  hated  the  English,  just  as  ardently 
did  he  long  for  union  among  Irishmen  of  all  creeds.  He  gave 
expression  to  that  feeling  in  these  words: 

"Then  let  the  Orange  lily  be 

Thy  badge,  my  patriot  brother; 
The  everlasting  Green  for  me 
And  we  for  one  another." 

There  was  a  curious  mixture  of  religions  in  the  Luby  family. 
Originally  from  Tipperary,  the  first  of  them  who  came  to  Dublin 
was  a  sizer  in  Trinity  College,  which  was  established  by  Queen 
Elizabeth  to  convert  the  Irish  to  Protestantism,  and  he  became 
a  Protestant  in  order  to  get  his  degree.  When  Thomas  Clarke 
Luby  was  convicted  of  Treason-Felony,  his  mother  (the  Catholic 
wife  of  a  Protestant  minister)  lived  with  her  daughter-in-law 
(Thomas's  Presbyterian  wife),  and  taught  Catholic  doctrine  to 
the  children  with  the  full  consent  of  their  mother  Letitia.  The 
religion  of  the  boys  became  rather  indefinite,  as  they  grew  up, 
and  his  younger  son,  Jack,  slipped  out  one  evening  from  a  party 
at  his  father's  house  in  41st  Street,  New  York,  with  a  daughter 
of  General  Millen  on  his  arm  and  was  married  to  her  by  a 
Protesant  minister  in  "The  Little  Church  Around  the  Corner". 
And  I  heard  Thomas  Clarke  Luby  himself  saying  "Hail  Marys" 
aloud  in  his  cell  in  Portland.  He  would  probably  have  em- 
braced Catholicity  but  for  the  anti-National  attitude  of  Cardinal 
Cullen  and  the  majority  of  the  Catholic  bishops  and  priests  dur- 
ing Fenian  days. 

Thomas  Clarke  Luby  was  born  in  Dublin  on  Jan.  15,  1822,  and 
after  receiving  the  customary  academic  training  became  a  stu- 
dent of  Trinity  College,  where  he  was  graduated  in  due  time. 
O'Connell's  Repeal  agitation  was  in  full  swing  as  he  grew  to 



manhood  and  the  Nation  was  established  by  Charles  Gavan 
Duffy,  Thomas  Davis  and  John  Blake  Dillon  in  October,  1842, 
when  he  was  just  twenty  years  old.  He  at  once  became  a  reader 
of  the  paper  and  drank  in  its  teachings  with  avidity.  If  he  had 
any  touch  of  conservatism  in  his  youthful  mind  it  speedily  dis- 
appeared under  the  spell  of  the  writings  of  Davis  and  Duffy. 
He  joined  the  Repeal  Association,  but  never  believed  in 
O'Connell's  peaceful  methods  and  rejected  his  "No  Drop  of  Blood" 
doctrine  from  the  start.  He  listened  to  the  debates  in  Concilia- 
tion Hall  between  the  Young  Irelanders  and  John  O'Connell  (son 
of  the  "Liberator")  and  his  partisans,  which  led  to  the  Seces- 
sion; and  his  sympathies,  like  those  of  most  of  the  younger  men, 
were  entirely  with  the  opposition.  Luby,  in  his  Life  of  Daniel 
O'Connell,  gives  a  very  clear  analysis  of  the  whole  situation. 

The  terrible  Famine  of  1847  forced  the  hand  of  the  Young 
Irelanders  and  they  rushed  into  a  policy  of  Insurrection  without 
the  slightest  military  preparation.  They  were  fine  writers  and 
some  of  them  very  eloquent  speakers,  but  not  one  among  them 
had  either  military  training  or  an  opportunity  for  acquiring  it. 
Their  writings  and  speeches  had  converted  a  large  number  of 
the  young  men  to  the  gospel  of  force  and  their  pride  impelled 
them  to  an  effort  to  make  good  their  preaching. 

But  the  people  had  no  arms.  A  few  of  the  members  of  the 
Confederate  Clubs  in  Dublin  had  secured  rifles,  but  not  enough 
to  face  a  company  of  British  soldiers,  and  a  few  thousand  here 
and  there  through  the  country  were  supplied  with  pikes.  Al- 
though the  British  army  had  not  yet  been  armed  with  the 
Enfield  rifle  and  the  old  style  muskets  were  of  short  range,  they 
were  more  than  a  match  for  the  pike.  The  pike  had  done  splen- 
did work  in  1798,  whenever  the  Rebels  got  to  close  quarters  with 
the  Britishers,  but  many  of  them  were  shot  down  before  they 
could  reach  the  enemy.  Once  they  did,  the  stalwart  United 
Irishmen  in  nearly  every  instance  were  able  to  make  short  work 
of  the  soldiers  and  yeomen. 

An  appeal  to  arms  made  to  a  disarmed  people  was  little  short 
of  insanity,  but  it  was  made  and  the  result  was  the  fiasco  at 
Ballingarry,  and  William  Smith  O'Brien,  the  Insurgent  Leader, 
(a  descendant  of  Brian  Boru,  Monarch  of  Ireland,  who  was  one  of 
the  greatest  warriors  that  Ireland  ever  produced) ,  came  to  grief, 
was  arrested,  tried  for  Treason-Felony  and  sent  to  the  Penal 
Colony  of  Van  Dieman's  Land.  The  imprisonment  of  nearly  all 
the  chief  Young  Irelanders  (a  few  only  escaping  to  America 
and  only  Duffy  getting  off  with  a  short  sentence)  left  Ireland 
leaderless,  and  the  people,  depressed  and  demoralized  by  the 
Famine,  became  an  easy  prey  to  the  rotten  Parliamentarians. 



Ireland's  military  reputation  was  hopelessly  damaged  by  the 
abject  failure  of  the  attempted  insurrection,  but  the  deprivation 
of  political  leadership  when  it  was  most  needed  was  a  greater 
calamity,  from  which  Ireland  did  not  recover  for  half  a  century. 
Had  Smith  O'Brien,  John  Mitchel,  John  Martin,  Thomas  Francis 
Meagher  and  the  other  Young  Ireland  leaders  and  the  host  of 
young  men  of  the  Confederate  Clubs  who  sought  refuge  in  Amer- 
ica been  able  to  remain  in  the  country,  the  treachery  of  Sadlier 
and  Keogh  would  have  been  rendered  impossible  and  Ireland 
would  have  been  spared  the  dark  days  of  the  'Fifties. 

Luby  would  have  gone  to  Tipperary  and  shared  the  fate  of 
O'Brien  if  he  knew  of  his  plans.  Like  the  other  young  men 
of  the  movement  he  was  filled  with  chagrin  at  the  miserable 
failure.  He  tells  in  his  "Recollections"  of  an  attempt  made  by 
himself  and  another  young  man  named  O'Reilly  (who  later  be- 
came a  General  in  the  Turkish  army  under  the  name  of  O'Reilly 
Bey)  to  retrieve  the  failure  by  a  stand-up  fight  in  Dublin,  but 
it  ended  in  a  futile  cab  drive  in  the  Phoenix  Park,  without  the 
firing  of  a  single  shot. 

In  the  unfortunate  quarrel  between  Gavan  Duffy  and  John 
Mitchel  which  followed  the  Young  Irelanders'  Secession  from 
Conciliation  Hall,  Luby  was  an  ardent  supporter  of  Mitchel.  One 
Split  follows  another  in  all  such  cases,  and,  although  Mitchel 
carried  on  a  very  effective  Propaganda  among  the  Northern 
Protestants  and  was  making  rapid  headway,  his  arrest  and  de- 
portation put  an  end  to  his  work.  But  the  effects  of  the  break 
between  Duffy  and  Mitchel  remained,  and  the  advanced  National 
Movement  was  wrecked. 

When  Duffy  came  out  of  prison  he  restarted  the  Nation,  but 
he  was  disheartened  at  the  failure  and  all  his  old  colleagues 
were  gone,  most  of  them  being  in  prison  and  the  rest  in  America, 
where  they  were  struggling  to  make  a  living  in  a  new  country. 
All  hope  of  an  insurrection  was  gone,  so  he  turned  to  Parlia- 
mentary agitation,  was  mainly  instrumental  in  founding  the 
Irish  Tenant  League  and  the  policy  of  Independent  Opposition 
in  the  British  Parliament  and  was  elected  Member  for  New 
Ross.  All  these  efforts  failed  through  the  support  given  to  Sadlier, 
Keogh  and  O'Flaherty  by  the  majority  of  the  priests  and  nearly 
all  the  Bishops. 

This  support  continued  until  Sadleir  committed  suicide  and 
his  dead  body  was  found  on  Hampstead  Heath  with  a  phial  con- 
taining the  dregs  of  prussic  acid  lying  beside  it.  Many  at  the 
time  doubted  the  genuineness  of  the  identification  and  insisted 
that  the  body  was  a  "stiff"  from  a  workhouse  or  a  prison, 



placed  there  with  the  connivance  of  the  Government,  but  Sadleir 
was  never  seen  again  by  anyone  that  knew  him. 

O'Flaherty  absconded  with  the  funds  of  the  Revenue  Depart- 
ment and  made  his  way  to  America  where,  under  the  name  of 
Stewart,  he  became  manager  of  a  New  York  theatre.  He  con- 
tributed a  number  of  articles  which  showed  fine  literary  ability 
to  the  New  York  Sun,  then  edited  by  Charles  A.  Dana,  over  the 
signature  of  "An  Old  Observer".  He  strongly  backed  the  Home 
Rule  agitation,  as  if  trying  to  atone  for  his  delinquency.  I  was 
introduced  to  him  in  the  office  of  the  theatre  by  George  F.  Wil- 
liams, City  Editor  of  the  Herald  (an  Englishman)  who  didn't 
know  his  identity,  but  knew  there  was  some  mystery  about  him, 
and  "Mr.  Stewart"  didn't  suspect  that  I  knew  he  was  Edmund 
O'Flaherty.  He  looked  what  he  was,  the  descendant  of  the  Chief 
of  the  O'Flahertys — a  man  of  splendid  physique,  with  a  large 
intellectual  head,  a  strong  handsome  face,  a  long  dark  beard 
just  beginning  to  get  streaked  with  gray,  and  his  manners  were 
those  of  the  old  Irish  gentleman.  I  often  saw  him  afterwards, 
as  he  took  his  meals  at  restaurants  which  supplied  a  good  table 
d'hote  for  fifty  cents.  We  never  spoke  again;  my  cold  manner 
apparently  made  him  suspect  that  I  knew  who  he  was. 

Judge  Keogh,  partner  in  crime  with  Sadleir  and  O'Flaherty, 
and  who  sentenced  most  of  the  Fenians  to  penal  servitude,  also 
committed  suicide  by  cutting  his  throat  while  drunk  in  a  Belgian 
hotel.  It  was  one  of  the  few  decent  acts  of  his  whole  career. 

On  account  of  the  havoc  wrought  by  the  treachery  of  Sadleir, 
Keogh  and  O'Flaherty,  Duffy  gave  up  in  despair,  turned  the 
Nation  over  to  John  Cashel  Hoey  and  went  to  Australia,  where 
he  later  became  Minister  of  Land  and  Works  in  the  Colony  of 

Commenting  on  the  political  corruption  of  Keogh,  Sadleir, 
and  others,  and  the  support  given  such  men  by  the  bishops, 
Charles  Gavan  Duffy  in  his  parting  message  to  the  Irish  people, 
wrote:  "till  all  this  was  changed  there  was  no  more  hope  for 
the  Irish  cause  than  for  a  corpse  on  the  dissecting  table". 
He  has  been  quoted  ever  since  without  the  opening  qualifying 
clause  (here  printed  in  Italics)  although  he  repeatedly  pointed 
out  the  error.  Luby,  under  the  influence  of  his  partisanship  with 
Mitchel,  classed  Duffy  as  a  "deserter",  until  later  in  life  he 
changed  his  mind.  In  a  speech  commemorating  John  Mitchel's 
death,  he  snarled  out  Duffy's  name,  laying  strong  emphasis  on 
the  "Sir",  the  title  conferred  on  him  for  his  successful  adminis- 
tration of  his  Ministerial  office  in  Victoria.  But  when  Duffy, 
then  living  in  Nice,  began  to  publish  his  splendid  historical  works 



Luby  relented  and  returned  to  his  old  respect  and  admiration 
for  him.  When  his  son,  Jack,  then  a  Lieutenant  in  the  Ameri- 
can Navy,  called  on  Duffy,  when  his  ship  stopped  at  Nice  for  a 
few  days  and  presented  his  father's  congratulations  on  the  great 
historical  work  he  was  doing,  the  old  veteran  was  very  much 
gratified.  Duffy  asked  Jack  Luby  to  convey  to  me  a  very  high 
compliment  on  some  short  Fenian  sketches  I  had  written  in  the 
Irish  Nation  and  a  request  that  I  should  complete  the  story  of 
the  movement.  Luby  himself  told  me  of  it  with  evident  pleasure 
at  the  funeral  of  William  O'Donovan. 

Shortly  after  1848  Luby  went  to  Australia  to  seek  a  living. 
He  stayed  only  a  little  while  in  that  country  and  returned  to  Ire- 
land where  he  joined  James  Fintan  Lalor's  small  revolutionary 
organization.  Lalor  had  started  a  weekly  paper  called  the 
Tribune,  which  preached  the  doctrines  he  advocated  in  1848, 
and  Luby  became  the  sub-editor.  But  Lalor  was  in  delicate 
health  and  when  he  died  in  1853  the  paper  died  with  him.  I 
was  only  eleven  years  old  at  the  time  and  knew  nothing  of 
Lalor,  but  returning  from  Marlborough  Street  school  I  passed 
through  Anglesea  Street,  where  the  office  of  the  paper  was  situ- 
ated, saw  the  crowd  at  the  door  and  heard  men  bidding  as  high 
as  half  a  crown  for  a  copy  of  the  last  number  of  the  paper. 
When  I  got  home  and  told  my  father  he  said  that  Lalor  was  a 
great  Irishman,  most  of  whose  ancestors  were  slaughtered  at 
Mullaghmast.  I  did  not  understand  the  significance  of  that 
until  I  grew  a  few  years  older. 

From  the  time  that  Stephens  took  hold  of  the  movement 
Luby  gave  him  active  support  and  travelled  a  good  deal  with 
him  on  his  organizing  tours.  I  met  him  first  shortly  after  my 
return  from  Algeria  in  1862  and  he  took  great  interest  in  my 
trip.  One  day  we  met  in  the  Long  Lane  as  I  was  on  my  way 
to  the  Royal  Dublin  Society  to  attend  Professor  Pontet's  French 
readings  and  he  commended  my  zeal  to  perfect  my  knowledge  of 
French.  From  that  time  on  he  never  lost  interest  in  me  and 
frequently  gave  me  good  advice  as  to  the  books  I  should  read. 
This  gave  me  a  strong  affection  for  him,  which  continued  un- 
broken to  his  death.  His  advice  on  reading  was  well  worth 
taking,  as  he  was  a  thoroughly  well  read  man  and  a  most  com- 
petent judge  of  literature.  He  wrote  more  than  any  other  mem- 
ber of  the  Irish  People  staff  and  his  articles,  although  charac- 
terized by  fine  literary  skill,  were  so  plain  and  direct  that  the 
uneducated  man  could  understand  them  as  well  as  the  person 
of  culture,  and  therefore  they  made  a  greater  impression  than 
those  of  John  O'Leary,  who  was  a  bit  too  philosophical  and 
sometimes  wrote  over  the  heads  of  his  readers.  Luby  wrote  rap- 



idly  and  easily,  yet  he  wrote  one  very  good  article  on  the  danger 
of  "easy  writing"  becoming  flippant. 

Luby  was  a  fine  speaker.  He  began  in  a  conversational  way 
and  in  a  low  voice,  as  if  he  did  not  intend  to  say  much,  but 
gradually  warmed  up,  raised  his  voice  and  became  very  eloquent 
and  effective.  I  only  heard  him  a  few  times  in  Dublin  at  small 
gatherings,  mostly  in  the  Irish  People  office,  at  which  oratory 
was  not  called  for.  One  of  these  was  on  the  night  of  February 
22,  1864,  after  the  breaking  up  of  the  Rotunda  meeting  from 
which  A.  M.  Sullivan  was  driven.  He  was  exultant  over  the 
result  and  gloated  over  the  rout  of  the  "respectables"  and  in- 
terrupted Stephens  two  or  three  times  while  he  was  explaining 
that  he  didn't  intend  the  meeting  to  end  in  a  riot,  but  merely 
a  protest  made  against  Sullivan's  "felon-setting".  Stephens  grew 
a  little  impatient  and  appealed  vainly  to  Luby,  saying:  "Luby, 
Luby;  hear  me",  but  Luby  paid  little  attention  to  his  pleadings 
and  insisted  that  the  smashing  up  of  the  meeting  would  have 
a  better  effect  on  the  country.  While  I  agreed  with  Stephens,  I 
found,  to  my  surprise,  when  I  got  back  to  Naas,  that  Luby  was 

A  short  time  before  his  arrest  Luby,  anticipating  it,  collected 
his  papers  and  put  them  in  two  packages,  one  containing  docu- 
ments relating  to  the  organization  and  the  other  the  letters  that 
passed  between  him  and  his  wife  before  they  were  married.  He 
marked  two  envelopes  and  put  the  papers  in  the  wrong  ones.  The 
envelope  containing  the  "Executive  Document"  and  other  organi- 
zation papers  he  put  in  the  open  drawer  of  a  table  which  he  used 
as  a  desk  supposing  them  to  be  the  love  letters,  and  the  latter  he 
secreted  somewhere  in  the  house.  The  detectives  found  the  "Ex- 
ecutive Document"  in  the  wrongly  marked  envelope  during  their 
first  search,  and  this  gave  the  Crown  lawyers  all  the  evidence 
they  required  for  the  conviction  of  the  three  men  named  in  it — 
Luby,  O'Leary  and  Kickham.  The  powers  which  it  conferred  on 
them  had  never  been  exercised,  as  no  emergency  arose  during  the 
period  while  Stephens  was  absent  in  America.  Kickham  had 
never  seen  it,  and  probably  did  not  know  of  its  existence. 

The  "Executive  Document"  was  as  follows: 

"I  hereby  empower  Thomas  Clarke  Luby,  John  O'Leary 
and  Charles  J.  Kickham  a  committee  of  organization,  or 
executive,  with  the  same  supreme  control  over  the  home 
organization  in  England,  Ireland  and  Scotland  as  that  exer- 
cised by  myself.  I  further  empower  them  to  appoint  a  com- 
mittee of  military  inspection,  and  a  committee  of  appeal 
and  judgment,  the  functions  of  which  committees  will  be 
made  known  to  every  member  of  them.  Trusting  to  the 
patriotism  and  abilities  of  the  executive,  I  fully  endorse  their 



actions  beforehand.  I  call  on  every  man  in  our  ranks  to  sup- 
port and  be  guided  by  them  in  all  that  concerns  the  mili- 
tary brotherhood. 

"J.  Stephens." 

Luby  was  sentenced  to  twenty  years  penal  servitude  and  took 
the  sentence  calmly.  He  was  taken  immediately  to  Mount]  oy 
Prison,  put  into  convict  garb,  his  hair  cut  short  and  his  beard 
shaved  off.  Until  he  was  joined  a  few  days  later  by  John  O'Leary, 
O'Donovan  Rossa  and  Kickham,  he  took  his  exercise  alone  (an 
hour  daily)  in  the  ring  surrounded  by  an  iron  railing  in  the 
prison  yard. 

As  the  number  of  convicted  men  grew  they  were  all  removed 
to  Pentonville  Prison,  London.  After  about  a  year  there  they 
were  sent  to  Portland.  This  practice  was  continued  with  all  the 
men  sentenced  to  penal  servitude,  which  meant  five  years  or 
more,  those  who  got  a  lighter  sentence  being  kept  in  the  Irish 

In  the  so-called  "probation"  prisons,  in  London,  where  the 
prisoners  spent  the  first  nine,  ten  or  twelve  months,  the  work 
was  picking  oakum — tearing  old  tar  ropes  to  floss;  or  coir — an 
Indian  grass  out  of  which  mats  were  made.  The  day's  work 
at  oakum  picking  was  three  pounds;  that  of  coir  was  twenty 
ounces;  and  both  blistered  the  fingers  very  badly  in  the  be- 
ginning, particularly  the  oakum.  The  delicate  hands  of  Luby, 
O'Leary  and  Kickham  suffered  very  badly,  but  failure  to  com- 
plete the  allotted  task  was  punished  by  twenty-four  hours  on 
bread  and  water — one  pound  of  dry  bread  and  two  pints  of 
water.  A  good  natured  warder  (and  there  were  many  such) 
sometimes  allowed  the  prisoner  to  get  more  water.  When  the 
prisoner  was  sentenced  to  more  than  three  days'  bread  and  water 
he  was  put  on  "penal  class"  diet  every  fourth  day — a  pint  of 
oatmeal  porridge  morning  and  evening,  supposed  to  be  made 
of  milk  and  water,  but  no  milk  with  it.  The  regular  diet  in  the 
"probation"  prisons  (Pentonville  and  Millbank)  was  sixteen 
ounces  of  bread,  three-quarters  of  a  pint  of  cocoa,  four  ounces 
of  beef  "cooked  in  its  own  liquor",  and  a  pint  of  gruel,  supposed 
to  contain  two  ounces  of  oatmeal  and  a  pound  of  potatoes  (often 
half  rotten)  daily.  On  Sundays,  the  bread  ration  was  20  ozs., 
and  4  ozs.  of  cheese  as  an  extra.  In  the  "Public  Works"  prisons 
(Portland,  Portsmouth,  Chatham  and  Dartmoor)  an  ounce  of 
meat  and  three  ounces  of  bread  were  added.  The  big  men  like 
Rossa,  Martin  Hanley,  Carey  and  Sergeant  McCarthy,  starved  on 
this  diet,  and  I  was  constantly  hungry  for  four  years,  but  other- 
wise in  good  health. 



In  all  cases  of  "bread  and  water",  the  prisoner's  mattress  and 
bed  clothes  (except  one  blanket  or  rag)  were  removed  from  his 
cell  and  he  had  to  sleep  on  the  bare  board  bed,  which  was  fas- 
tened to  the  floor.  His  shoes  and  suspenders  were  also  taken 

Neither  Luby,  O'Leary  nor  Kickham  ever  got  this  punishment; 
Rossa  got  it  constantly  and  I  got  it  occasionally.  But  the  dark 
cell  was  the  severest  punishment. 

The  work  was  occasionally  changed  to  tailoring — making  con- 
vict uniforms,  trousers,  jackets,  vests  and  drawers,  which  were 
handed  in  basted  together,  and  the  prisoner  did  the  back  stitch- 
ing and  hemming. 

In  Portland,  the  work  was  stone-cutting — making  "knobblers" 
from  Portland  stone  (which  was  soft)  with  a  blunt  pick.  This 
work  in  the  beginning  caused  very  bad  blisters  on  the  hands. 
In  Portsmouth,  Chatham  and  Dartmoor  the  work  was  of  various 
kinds,  but  all  hard.  This  was  England's  way  of  taming  the 
Fenians,  but  they  all  remained  untamed  to  the  last. 

Neither  Luby  nor  O'Leary  was  much  of  a  success  at  making 
knobblers,  and  it  was  painful  to  look  at  them  handling  the  pick. 
Stone  cutting  was,  of  course,  utterly  impossible  for  Kickham.  I 
was  glad  to  get  the  open  air  exercise  after  nearly  two  years'  close 
confinement  and  it  did  me  good.  At  exercise  on  Sundays  the 
prisoners  were  allowed  to  talk,  and  I  had  many  pleasant  talks 
with  Luby  and  O'Leary  during  my  twelve  weeks  in  Portland. 
Then  I  was  sent  back  to  the  Penal  Class  in  Millbank  for  parti- 
cipating in  a  strike.  The  English  warders  were  down  on  the 
Americans,  but  made  some  allowance  for  the  born  Irishman. 
McClure,  James  O'Connor  and  Charles  Underwood  O'Connell,  who 
had  all  struck,  were  sent  back  with  me.  Luby  and  O'Leary  ad- 
vised against  the  strike  on  the  ground  that  we  "couldn't  fight 
England  in  her  own  prisons",  but  after  McClure  and  myself  had 
continued  it  in  Millbank  for  a  few  months  we  won  the  strike 
for  all  concerned.  The  prison  doctor  (of  course  acting  under 
orders)  was  the  mediator  and  he  was  aided  by  some  good  natured 
lying  by  an  Irish  Cockney  warder  named  Nash  (a  very  decent 
fellow) ,  but  we  didn't  put  our  hands  to  work  until  we  were 
restored  to  the  regular  prison  diet  and  taken  out  of  the  Penal 
Class  cells.  The  doctor's  pretext  for  interfering  was  that  1868 
was  an  abnormally  hot  year  in  England. 

When  some  years  later  I  told  our  experience  to  Luby  in  New 
York  he  admitted  that,  after  all,  it  was  possible  to  fight  John 
Bull  in  his  own  prisons.  John  was  breaking  his  own  printed  rules 



(or  Sir  Joshua  Jebb's)  which  were  embodied  in  an  Act  or  Par- 
liament, and  he  did  not  want  to  face  continual  public  exposures. 

When  Luby  was  released  in  January,  1871,  on  condition  of  not 
returning  to  the  "United  Kingdom"  during  the  balance  of  his 
existence  (the  condition  on  which  Gladstone  liberated  all  the 
Fenian  prisoners  at  that  time),  he  went  first  to  Belgium  and 
then  in  a  few  months  came  to  New  York. 

In  New  York  he  had  no  chance  of  employment  on  a  daily 
paper.  The  Irish-American  weeklies  were  out  of  the  question; 
they  were  unable  to  pay  a  decent  salary  and  were  all  out  of  har- 
mony with  his  views.  And  as  he  was  not  a  citizen,  political  em- 
ployment was  impossible,  although  at  that  time  many  non-citi- 
zens held  minor  political  positions.  Indeed  about  a  week  after  the 
first  batch  of  us  landed  we  got  a  quiet  intimation  that  Presi- 
dent Grant  was  willing  to  give  any  of  us  who  wanted  it  a  clerk- 
ship in  one  of  the  Washington  Departments  at  $1,200  or  $1,500 
a  year,  but  none  of  us  availed  ourselves  of  the  offer.  Luby's  deli- 
cate sense  of  honor  convinced  him  that  it  would  be  entirely 
out  of  place  for  a  man  to  seek  political  employment  in  a  country 
of  which  he  was  not  a  citizen. 

He  eventually  was  engaged  by  a  publisher  named  McMena- 
min  at  a  small  salary  to  write  the  "Lives  of  Illustrious  Irish- 
men" and  "The  Life  of  Daniel  O'Connell",  which  came  out  in 
parts  and  were  sold  by  canvassers  throughout  the  country. 

Luby  for  some  time  would  not  join  any  Irish  organization 
here.  He  had  a  theory  that  when  a  movement  failed  the  ground 
ought  to  be  let  lie  fallow  until  a  new  situation  arose  and  then 
the  people  could  form  an  organization  suitable  to  the  emergency. 
All  his  colleagues  in  New  York  disagreed  with  this  view  and  be- 
lieved there  should  be  a  permanent  organization  with  a  clear 
and  definite  purpose.  The  English  Government,  we  argued,  was 
a  permanent  organization  with  a  fixed  purpose  and  should  be 
fought  by  a  permanent  organization  having  for  its  object  the 
overthrow  of  English  rule  in  Ireland  and  the  restoration  of  Irish 
Independence,  and  ready  to  take  advantage  of  any  opportunity 
that  might  arise.  He  eventually  yielded  to  our  pleadings  and 
joined  the  Clan-na-Gael,  in  which  he  took  an  active  part  for 
some  years.  He  also  consented  to  act  as  one  of  the  Trustees  of  the 
"Skirmishing  Fund"  and  wrote  the  address  to  the  Irish  people 
in  America  explaining  the  broadening  of  its  aims  and  changing 
the  name  to  the  Irish  National  Fund.  He  never  missed  a  meet- 
ing and  was  present  at  the  one  which  accepted  the  plans  for 
and  decided  to  undertake  the  construction  of  the  Holland  sub- 



When  John  Mitchel  died  in  1875,  we  got  up  a  memorial 
meeting  for  him  in  Madison  Square  Garden,  at  which  Thomas 
Francis  Bourke  presided  and  Luby  delivered  the  address.  John 
W.  Goff  was  District  Officer  for  New  York  and  I  was  Chairman 
of  the  Executive  of  the  Clan-na-Gael.  Goff  tried  to  make  a  bar- 
gain with  me  by  which  I  should  preside  and  he  deliver  the 
oration.  I  refused  because  I  was  only  a  reporter  on  the  Herald 
and  Goff  a  cashier  in  one  of  the  departments  of  A.  T.  Stewart's 
drygoods  store,  and  it  would  look  bad  if  two  men  in  such  humble 
positions  and  unknown  to  the  public  should  be  the  chief  figures 
at  a  demonstration  in  honor  of  the  great  Rebel,  while  there  were 
so  many  men  of  prominence  and  ability  in  New  York  to  perform 
the  task.  I  pointed  out  this  to  Goff  and  told  him  the  English 
press  would  use  the  opportunity  to  say  that  the  Irish  movement 
in  America  had  reached  a  very  low  ebb  when  a  reporter  on  a 
daily  paper  and  a  draper's  assistant  were  its  leaders  in  New  York. 
(Some  thirty  years  later  John  W.  Goff  became  one  of  the  most 
eminent  judges  on  the  Supreme  Court  Bench,  New  York.) 

Luby  and  Bourke  agreed  with  me  that  Richard  O'Gorman, 
who  was  a  great  orator  and  very  well  known  to  the  public,  was 
the  proper  man  to  deliver  the  speech  for  his  old  colleague  of 
1848,  but  the  local  officers  voted  down  my  proposition  because 
O'Gorman  had  taken  no  part  in  Irish  affairs  since  his  arrival 
in  the  country  and  was  active  only  in  American  politics. 

At  the  meeting  of  the  officers  of  the  District  which  arranged 
for  the  Mitchel  meeting,  Goff  presided  at  the  opening  session 
and  showed  no  opposition  until  John  O'Connor  was  selected  as 
Chairman  of  the  committee  and  James  Fitzgerald  (later  a  Judge 
of  the  Supreme  Court)  Secretary.  Then  he  left  the  chair,  went 
to  the  centre  of  the  hall  and  said:  "Brothers,  you  have  insulted 
your  District  Member  and  I  don't  propose  to  let  you  trample  on 
me.  I  forbid  the  meeting."  He  requested  Fitzgerald  and  me  to 
walk  out  with  him,  but  we  both  refused.  He  then  inserted  an 
advertisement  in  the  Herald,  signed  with  his  official  initials  say- 
ing that  the  persons  who  were  getting  up  the  meeting  had  no 
authority,  brought  the  receipt  for  the  ad.  to  Billy  Meighan,  the 
City  Editor,  told  him  he  was  the  chief  officer  of  the  Clan-na- 
Gael  in  the  city  and  asked  him  to  insert  a  news  paragraph  to 
the  same  effect.  Meighan  brought  the  ad.  to  me  at  the  Foreign 
Desk  (which  I  was  occupying  temporarily)  and  told  me  to  do 
what  I  liked  with  it.  I  wrote  a  column  and  a  half  of  an  advance 
notice  of  the  meeting,  sent  shorter  notices  to  John  C.  Hennessy 
of  the  Times,  Walter  O'Dwyer  of  the  Tribune,  and  John  Gallagher 
of  the  World,  and  they  were  all  inserted  next  day. 



The  Commemoration  was  a  great  success — the  first  success- 
ful Irish  gathering  in  New  York  since  the  collapse  of  Fenianism. 
Bourke,  who  was  one  of  the  most  eloquent  men  in  the  movement, 
made  a  splendid  speech  in  opening  the  meeting,  and  Luby's 
address  was  a  most  eloquent  tribute  to  John  Mitchel.  No  other 
man  in  New  York,  not  even  the  silver-tongued  O'Gorman,  could 
have  done  it  half  so  well.   We  had  only  two  speakers. 

I  go  into  these  details  to  show  the  difficulties  we  had  to  con- 
tend with  before  the  Clan-na-Gael  was  finally  hammered  into 
shape  and  made  the  efficient  and  disciplined  organization  which 
it  later  became. 

During  the  next  two  or  three  years  Luby  rendered  other  con- 
spicuous services,  but  when  the  Triangle  got  hold  of  the  organi- 
zation and  adopted  the  dynamite  policy,  in  spite  of  the  opposi- 
tion of  the  Supreme  Council  of  the  I.  R.  B.  in  Ireland,  he  resigned 
and  took  no  further  active  part  in  the  movement. 

Luby  died  on  Nov.  29,  1901,  in  Jersey  City,  where  he  had  moved 
when  his  son,  James,  became  Editor  of  the  Journal,  and  was 
buried  in  Bay  View  Cemetery  in  that  city.  I  was  away  from  New 
York  at  the  time  and  missed  the  funeral,  which  I  regretted  very 
much.  I  had  been  out  of  touch  with  the  family  for  some  time 
and  didn't  know  that  he  was  sick. 

On  June  10,  1911,  the  Clan-na-Gael,  the  Veterans  of  the 
I.  R.  Brotherhood  and  the  Irish  Volunteers  of  New  York  and 
New  Jersey,  decorated  his  grave  and  there  was  a  great  demon- 
stration attended  by  thousands  of  people.  I  delivered  the  address 
and  his  son  James  represented  the  family.  The  cemetery  was 
filled  with  people  decorating  the  graves  of  relatives  who  had 
fought  in  the  Civil  War,  and  when  I  was  done  speaking  a  fashion- 
ably dressed  lady  came  over  to  me  and  asked:  "Are  all  these 
men  Irish  Catholics?"  I  told  her  that  most  of  them  were,  and 
she  said:  "And  they  attend  a  ceremony  in  a  Protestant  ceme- 
tery." I  told  her  that  Luby  was  a  Protestant,  like  Robert  Emmet, 
William  Smith  O'Brien,  Charles  Stewart  Parnell,  Henry  Grattan 
and  many  other  Irish  Leaders,  and  she  expressed  surprise  and 
said:    "I  thought  all  the  Irish  Leaders  were  Catholics." 

In  spite  of  all  proof  to  the  contrary,  this  is  still  the  prevailing 
opinion  in  America,  and  it  seems  impossible  to  eradicate  it.  Cen- 
turies of  lying  English  Propaganda  have  fastened  this  belief  in 
the  minds  of  nearly  the  whole  if  not  all  the  people  of  the  world, 
and  particularly  the  Americans,  and  it  will  take  a  long  time  to 
banish  it.  This  Jersey  City  woman  was  a  fine  specimen  of  the 
average  American. 



Thomas  Clarke  Luby  had  the  temperament  of  a  boy  to  the 
last  and  he  was  as  optimistic  when  he  died  as  he  was  in  1848. 
He  never  despaired  of  the  ultimate  Independence  of  Ireland.  His 
life  was  one  long  sacrifice,  but  he  made  it  cheerfully  and  never 
for  a  moment  regretted  that  he  immolated  himself  on  the  altar 
of  his  country. 

Luby's  speech  in  the  dock  was  as  follows: 

"Well,  my  lords  and  gentlemen,  I  don't  think  any  person 
present  here  is  surprised  at  the  verdict  found  against  me. 
I  have  been  prepared  for  this  verdict  ever  since  I  was  ar- 
rested, although  I  thought  it  my  duty  to  fight  the  British 
Government  inch  by  inch.  I  felt  I  was  sure  to  be  found 
guilty,  since  the  advisers  of  the  Crown  took  what  the  Attor- 
ney-General was  pleased  the  other  day  to  call  the  'merciful 
course.'  I  thought  I  might  have  a  fair  chance  of  escaping, 
so  long  as  the  capital  charge  was  impending  over  me;  but 
when  they  resolved  on  trying  me  under  the  Treason-Felony 
Act,  I  felt  that  I  had  not  the  smallest  chance.  I  am  some- 
what embarrassed  at  the  present  moment  as  to  what  I 
should  say  under  the  circumstances.  There  are  a  great 
many  things  that  I  would  wish  to  say;  but  knowing  that 
there  are  other  persons  in  the  same  situation  with  myself, 
and  that  I  might  allow  myself  to  say  something  injudicious, 
which  would  peril  their  cases,  I  feel  that  my  tongue  is  to  a 
great  degree  tied.  Notwithstanding,  there  are  two  or  three 
points  upon  which  I  would  say  a  few  words.  I  have  nothing 
to  say  to  Judge  Keogh's  charge  to  the  jury.  He  did  not  take 
up  any  of  the  topics  that  had  been  introduced  to  prejudice 
the  case  against  me;  for  instance,  he  did  not  take  this  ac- 
cusation of  an  intention  to  assassinate,  attributed  to  my  fel- 
low prisoners  and  myself.  The  Solicitor-General  in  his  reply 
to  Mr.  Butt,  referred  to  those  topics.  Mr.  Barry  was  the  first 
person  who  advanced  those  charges.  I  thought  they  were 
partially  given  up  by  the  Attorney-General  in  his  opening 
statement,  at  least  they  were  put  forward  to  you  in  a  very 
modified  form;  but  the  learned  Solicitor-General,  in  his 
very  virulent  speech,  put  forward  those  charges  in  a  most 
aggravated  manner.  He  sought  even  to  exaggerate  upon  Mr. 
Barry's  original  statement. 

"Now,  with  respect  to  those  charges — in  justice  to  my 
character — I  must  say  that  in  this  court,  there  is  not  a  man 
more  incapable  of  anything  like  massacre  or  assassination 
than  I  am.  I  really  believe  that  the  gentlemen  who  have 
shown  so  much  ability  in  prosecuting  me,  in  the  bottom  of 
their  hearts  believe  me  incapable  of  an  act  of  assassination 
or  massacre.  I  don't  see  that  there  is  the  smallest  amount 
of  evidence  to  show  that  I  ever  entertained  the  notion  of  a 
massacre  of  landlords  and  priests.  I  forget  whether  the  ad- 
visers of  the  Crown  said  I  intended  the  massacre  of  the 
Protestant  clergymen.  Some  of  the  writers  of  our  enlight- 
ened press  said  that  I  did.  Now,  with  respect  to  the  charge 
of  assassinating  the  landlords,  the  only  thing  that  gives 
even  the  shadow  of  a  color  to  that  charge  is  the  letter 
signed— alleged  to  be  signed — by  Mr.  O'Keefe.  Now,  as- 
suming— but  by  no  means  admitting,  of  course — that  the 
letter  was  written  by  Mr.  O'Keefe,  let  me  make  a  statement 
about  it.  I  know  the  facts  that  I  am  about  to  state  are  of 
no  practical  utility  to  me  now,  at  least  with  respect  to  the 



judges.  I  know  that  it  is  of  no  practical  utility  to  me,  be- 
cause I  cannot  give  evidence  on  my  own  behalf,  but  it  may 
be  of  practical  utility  to  others  with  whom  I  wish  to  stand 
well.  I  believe  my  words  will  carry  conviction — and  carry 
much  more  conviction  than  any  words  of  the  legal  advisers 
of  the  Crown  can — to  more  than  300,000  of  the  Irish  race 
in  Ireland,  England  and  America.  Well,  I  deny  absolutely, 
that  I  ever  entertained  any  idea  of  assassinating  the  land- 
lords, and  the  letter  of  Mr.  O'Keefe — assuming  it  to  be  his 
letter — is  the  only  evidence  on  the  subject.  My  acquaintance 
with  Mr.  O'Keefe  was  of  the  slightest  nature.  I  did  not 
even  know  of  his  existence  when  the  Irish  People  was 
started.  He  came,  after  that  paper  was  established  a  few 
months,  to  the  office  and  offered  some  articles — some  were 
rejected,  some  were  inserted,  and  I  call  the  attention  of  the 
legal  advisers  of  the  Crown  to  this  fact,  that  amongst  the 
papers  which  they  got,  those  that  were  Mr.  O'Keefe's  ar- 
ticles had  many  paragraphs  scored  out;  in  fact  we  put  in 
no  article  of  his  without  a  great  deal  of  what  is  technically 
called  'cutting  down'.  Now,  that  letter  of  his  to  me  was 
simply  a  private  document.  It  contained  the  mere  private 
views  of  the  writer;  and  I  pledge  this  to  the  court  as  a  man 
of  honor — and  I  believe  in  spite  of  the  position  in  which 
I  stand,  amongst  my  countrymen  I  am  believed  to  be  a  man 
of  honor,  and  that  if  my  life  depended  on  it,  I  would  not 
speak  falsely  about  the  thing — when  I  read  that  letter,  and 
the  first  to  whom  I  gave  it  was  my  wife,  I  remember  we  read 
it  with  fits  of  laughter  at  its  ridiculous  ideas.  My  wife, 
at  the  moment  said — 'Had  I  not  better  burn  the  letter?'  'Oh, 
no,'  I  said,  looking  upon  it  as  a  most  ridiculous  thing,  and 
never  dreaming  for  a  moment  that  such  a  document  would 
ever  turn  up  against  me,  and  produce  the  unpleasant  con- 
sequences it  has  produced — I  mean  the  imputation  of  assassi- 
nation and  massacre,  which  has  given  me  a  great  deal  more 
trouble  than  anything  else  in  this  case. 

"That  disposes — as  far  as  I  can  at  present  dispose  of  it — 
of  the  charge  of  wishing  to  assassinate  the  landlords.  As 
to  the  charge  of  desiring  to  assassinate  the  priests,  I  deny 
it  as  being  the  most  monstrous  thing  in  the  world.  Why, 
surely,  every  one  who  read  the  articles  in  the  paper  would 
see  that  the  plain  doctrine  laid  down  there  was — to  rever- 
ence the  priests  so  long  as  they  confined  themselves  to  their 
sacerdotal  functions;  but  when  the  priest  descended  to  the 
arena  of  politics  he  became  no  more  than  any  other  man, 
and  would  just  be  regarded  as  any  other  man.  If  he  was  a 
man  of  ability  and  honesty,  of  course  he  would  get  the  re- 
spect that  such  men  get  in  politics — if  he  was  not  a  man 
of  ability  there  would  be  no  more  thought  of  him  than  of 
a  shoemaker,  or  any  one  else.  This  is  the  teaching  of  the 
Irish  People  with  regard  to  the  priests.  I  believe  the  Irish 
People  has  done  a  great  deal  of  good,  even  amongst  those 
who  do  not  believe  in  its  revolutionary  doctrines.  I  believe 
the  revolutionary  doctrines  of  the  Irish  People  are  good,  I 
believe  nothing  can  ever  save  Ireland  except  Independence; 
and  I  believe  that  all  other  attempts  to  ameliorate  the  con- 
dition of  Ireland  are  mere  temporary  expedients  and  make- 

Mr.  Justice  Keogh:  "I  am  very  reluctant  to  interrupt 
you,  Mr.  Luby." 

Mr.  Luby:  "Very  well,  my  Lord,  I  will  leave  that.  I  be- 
lieve in  this  way  the  Irish  People  has  done  an  immensity  of 



good.  It  taught  the  people  not  to  give  up  their  right  of 
private  judgment  in  temporal  matters  to  the  clergy;  that 
while  they  reverenced  the  clergy  upon  the  altar,  they  should 
not  give  up  their  consciences  in  secular  matters  to  the  clergy. 
I  believe  that  is  good.  Others  may  differ  from  me.  No  set 
of  men  I  believe  ever  set  themselves  earnestly  to  any  work, 
but  they  did  good  in  some  shape  or  form." 

Judge  Keogh:  "I  am  most  reluctant,  Mr.  Luby,  to  inter- 
rupt you,  but  do  you  think  you  should  pursue  this?" 

Mr.  Luby:  "Very  well,  I  will  not.  I  think  that  disposes 
of  those  things.  I  don't  care  to  say  much  about  myself.  It 
would  be  rather  beneath  me.  Perhaps  some  persons  who 
know  me  would  say  I  should  not  have  touched  upon  the 
assassination  charge  at  all — that  in  fact  I  have  rather  shown 
weakness  in  attaching  so  much  importance  to  it.  But,  with 
regard  to  the  entire  course  of  my  life,  and  whether  it  be 
a  mistaken  course  or  not  will  be  for  every  man's  individual 
judgment  to  decide,  this  I  know,  that  no  man  ever  loved 
Ireland  more  than  I  have  done — no  man  has  given  up  his 
whole  being  to  Ireland  to  the  extent  I  have  done.  From 
the  time  I  came  to  what  has  been  called  the  years  of  discre- 
tion, my  entire  thought  has  been  devoted  to  Ireland.  I  be- 
lieve the  course  I  pursued  was  right;  others  may  take  a  dif- 
ferent view.  I  believe  the  majority  of  my  countrymen  this 
minute,  if,  instead  of  my  being  tried  before  a  petty  jury, 
who,  I  suppose,  are  bound  to  find  according  to  British  law — 
if  my  guilt  or  innocence  was  to  be  tried  by  the  higher 
standard  of  eternal  right,  and  the  case  was  put  to  all  my 
countrymen — I  believe  this  moment  the  majority  of  my 
countrymen  would  pronounce  that  I  am  not  a  criminal,  but 
that  I  have  deserved  well  of  my  country. 

"When  the  proceedings  of  this  trial  go  forth  into  the  world, 
people  will  say  the  cause  of  Ireland  is  not  to  be  despaired 
of,  that  Ireland  is  not  yet  a  lost  country — that  as  long  as 
there  are  men  in  any  country  prepared  to  expose  themselves 
to  every  difficulty  and  danger,  in  its  service,  prepared  to 
brave  captivity,  even  death  itself,  if  need  be,  that  country 
cannot  be  lost.  With  those  words  I  conclude." 

Luby  was  the  first  of  the  Fenian  leaders  to  be  placed  on  trial 
before  the  Special  Commission,  consisting  of  Judges  Keogh  and 
Fitzgerald.  The  evidence  against  the  three  consisted  of  the  testi- 
mony of  the  informer,  Pierce  Nagle,  and  a  Polish  Jew  named 
Schoelfeldt,  who  had  purchased  a  Fenian  Bond  for  $5,  with  money 
given  him  by  the  British  Consul  in  New  York,  and  asked  John 
O'Mahony  to  affix  his  signature  to  it,  so  that  he  might  keep  it 
as  a  souvenir.  This  enabled  the  latter  to  testify  to  O'Mahony's 

Schoelfeldt  was  on  the  ship  with  a  Tipperary  man  coming  to 
America  who  was  entrusted  with  a  letter  to  John  O'Mahony,  and 
he  showed  it  to  the  Pole  who  told  him  he  sympathized  with 
Ireland's  struggle  for  freedom.  The  Polish  insurrection  led  by 
Langievicz  (a  former  Lieutenant  in  the  Prussian  army)  was  then 
going  on.  All  Ireland  was  in  sympathy  with  it,  and  the  Tip- 
perary man  foolishly  thought  that  all  Poles  were  to  be  trusted. 



The  Jew  asked  to  be  permitted  to  accompany  him  when  he 
went  to  see  the  great  Irishman  and  he  was,  and  O'Mahony,  sus- 
pecting nothing,  complied  with  the  fellow's  request.  That  bond 
with  O'Mahony's  signature  enabled  the  Government  to  prove  the 
existence  of  an  international  conspiracy. 

But  the  chief  evidence  against  Luby,  O'Leary  and  Kickham 
was  the  "Executive  Document". 



The  Finest  Intellect  of  the  Fenian  Movement — Had  Great  Liter- 
ary Ability  and  a  Keen  Grasp  of  Public  Affairs — His  Stories 
and  Songs  an  Inspiration. 

Charles  J.  Kickham  was  the  finest  intellect  in  the  Fenian 
Movement,  either  in  Ireland  or  America,  although  his  defective 
sight  and  hearing  prevented  the  demonstration  of  that  fact  in 
public.  One  would  have  to  know  him  personally  and  to  see  his 
work  in  council  to  realize  the  superiority  of  his  mind  over  those 
of  his  colleagues  and  contemporaries. 

Kickham  was  born  at  Mullinahone,  Co.  Tipperary,  near  the 
foot  of  Slievenamon  on  the  9th  of  May,  1828.  His  mother's 
maiden  name  was  O'Mahony  and  she  was  a  cousin  of  John 
O'Mahony,  the  founder  of  the  Fenian  Movement.  He  came  of  a 
very  well-to-do  family  and  received  the  training  of  an  Irish  boy  of 
his  class  up  to  fourteen  years  of  age,  when  the  accident  happened 
which  changed  the  whole  course  of  his  life.  Boy-like,  he  was 
holding  a  flask  of  powder  near  a  fire  to  dry  it,  and,  as  might  be 
expected,  it  exploded,  with  the  unfortunate  result  that  he  was 
rendered  nearly  blind  and  almost  completely  deaf.  Though  thus 
handicapped,  he  read  extensively  and  studied  hard  and  became 
better  informed  than  any  of  his  relatives  and  neighbors.  The 
habit  of  introspection  acquired  in  his  solitude,  in  the  opinion  of 
John  O'Leary,  helped  to  develop  his  intellect  and  the  remaining 
senses  became  more  acute  and  efficient,  as  nature's  compensation 
for  the  practical  loss  of  sight  and  hearing. 

Kickham  had  great  literary  ability  and  a  wide  knowledge  of 
modern  literature,  although  reading  was  a  most  difficult  task  for 
him.  His  stories  depict  life  in  Tipperary  as  completely  as  those 
of  William  Carleton,  Gerald  Griffin  and  John  Banim  do  that  of 
the  sections  of  whose  people  they  wrote,  but  there  is  a  charm  in 
Kickham  that  is  entirely  absent  from  the  others.  I  exclude  Lever, 
because  he  wrote  chiefly  for  the  English  market  and  his  heroes 
were  mostly  Anglo-Irishmen,  to  whom  he  gave  old  Irish  names. 

His  principal  stories  are  "Knocknagow";  "Sally  Cavanagh, 
or  the  Untenanted  Graves";  "For  The  Old  Land",  and  "Tales  of 
Tipperary"  (a  collection  of  short  stories) . 




Kickham's  notes  on  "Young  Ireland"  by  Charles  Gavan  Duffy, 
have  never  been  published  in  book  form  and  his  poems  have  not 
been  collected. 

"Patrick  Sheehan"  was  a  simple  ballad  telling  the  story  of  an 
Irish  soldier  wounded  in  the  Crimean  War,  made  blind,  and  left 
utterly  unprovided  for  by  the  British  Government.  It  at  once 
caught  the  popular  ear  and  was  sung  as  a  street  ballad  at  fairs 
and  markets  and  the  Government  was  forced  by  the  publicity  to 
grant  Sheehan  a  small  pension. 

Kickham  was  one  of  the  four  most  prominent  men  in  the 
old  movement,  and  as  Chairman  of  the  Supreme  Council  for  sev- 
eral years  before  he  died  was  the  unchallenged  leader  of  the 
reorganized  I.  R.  B.  The  personal  affection  for  him  of  the  rank 
and  file,  although  they  saw  little  of  him  (and  conversation  with 
him  was  nearly  impossible) ,  amounted  almost  to  adoration. 
While  his  books  were  widely  read,  that  would  not  account  for 
his  popularity,  but  his  "Rory  of  the  Hill",  the  finest  of  all  the 
Rebel  ballads,  was  sung  more  generally  than  any  other  National- 
ist song  except  T.  D.  Sullivan's  "God  Save  Ireland".  There  is 
sound  philosophy,  as  well  as  political  truth  which  is  as  plain 
to  the  peasant  as  to  the  scholar,  in  the  lines: 

"The  poet  and  the  orator  the  heart  of  man  can  sway, 
And  would  to  the  kind  heavens  that  Wolfe  Tone  were 
here  to-day! 

Yet  trust  me,  friends,  dear  Ireland's  strength — her 

truest  strength — is  still 
The  rough  and  ready  roving  boys  like  Rory  of  the 


The  heart  of  the  Irish  people  is  always  sound,  no  matter  how 
leaders  may  err  or  how  the  rank  and  file  may  be  misled  for  a 

There  is  no  finer  story  of  Irish  life  than  "Knocknagow".  I 
quote  the  following  brief  but  excellent  note  on  its  characters 
from  a  Memoir  of  Kickham,  by  R.  J.  Kelly: 

"It  is  a  very  vigorous  work  of  peasant  portraiture,  and  its 
characters  are  well-known  types.  It  shows  what  O'Leary 
said  the  writer  possessed  in  a  rare  degree — thorough  knowl- 
edge of  the  people  and,  with  that  thorough  knowledge, 
thorough  and  sincere  sympathy.  No  one  who  has  once  read 
it  can  soon  forget  Matt  Donovan,  the  Thrasher,  who  excelled 
in  all  kinds  of  work  as  a  farm  labourer,  and  who  never  met 
his  match  at  wielding  a  flail.  'He  could  turn  a  hand  to  any- 
thing, soleing  a  pair  of  brogues  to  roofing  and  thatching  a 
barn'.  Then  there  is  Billy  Heffernan,  the  flute-player,  al- 
ways lonely  on  his  way  to  Clonmel  but  a  king  in  his  humble 
cottage  and  on  the  bog.  Phil  Lahy,  trusted  so  much  to  a 
little  nourishment  and  Columkille's  prophecies.  Nellie  Dono- 
van, stoutest  and  airiest  of  peasant  girls;  the  racy  Wattle- 
toes;  poor  Norah  Lahy,  an  angel  in  the  shadow  of  death; 


Mary  Kearney,  one  of  Nature's  ladies;  the  heart-heavy,  true- 
souled  priest,  who  yet  to  the  world's  view  had  a  proud  walk, 
Father  Matt  Hannigan,  and  Hugh  Kearney,  the  young 
farmer — all  these  stand  out  in  its  pages  never  to  be  forgotten. 
The  times  they  depict,  when  landlord  exaction  and  tenant 
wrongs  led  to  heartless  evictions,  as  so  touchingly  described, 
are  happily  now  things  of  the  past;  but  while  the  Anner 
flows  beside  Kickham's  grave  these  men  and  these  times 
can  never  be  forgotten.  Then  how  beautifully  and  simply 
the  story  closes.  These  are  the  last  words:  'It  is  very 
pleasant',  returned  Mary,  'Thank  God  there  are  happy  homes 
in  Tipperary  still'.  But  she  added  as  she  turned  round  and 
looked  along  the  two  low  whitish  walls  that  reached  from 
'the  Cross'  to  Matt  Donovan's:  'But  Knocknagow  is  gone.'" 

No  sweeter  bit  of  Irish  verse  was  written  in  English  than: 

"She  lived  beside  the  Anner 
At  the  foot  of  Slievenamon," 

telling  the  pathetic  story  of  an  Irish  emigrant  girl.  Its  only  rival 
is  Lady  Dufferin's  "Irish  Emigrant's  Lament". 

Kickham's  ability  is  not  to  be  measured  by  his  writings,  al- 
though they  give  him  a  high  place.  He  displayed  knowledge  of 
men  that  was  remarkable  on  account  of  the  paucity  of  his  in- 
formation about  them  and  his  inability  to  see  and  hear  them, 
but  his  estimates  of  their  character  and  ability  were  all  correct 
It  was  the  same  with  public  events  and  foreign  affairs.  His 
reading  of  newspapers  was  necessarily  limited,  but  his  capacity 
for  grasping  the  meaning  of  events  from  short  despatches  and 
editorial  comment  was  wonderful.  He  was  a  perfect  master  of 
Irish  politics,  was  quite  familiar  with  the  general  trend  of  Euro- 
pean affairs,  knew  England  thoroughly  and  had  a  better  under- 
standing of  America  than  many  men  who  read  newspapers  exten- 
sively. Yet  his  reading  had  to  be  done  with  his  spectacles  lifted 
up  to  his  forehead,  his  hand  shading  his  eyes,  and  the  book, 
paper  or  letter  held  within  a  couple  of  inches  of  them.  Conversa- 
tion with  him  for  many  years  had  to  be  carried  on  by  the  aid 
of  an  ear  trumpet,  and  for  a  long  time  before  he  died  by  means 
of  the  deaf  and  dumb  alphabet.  Yet  the  man  so  handicapped  was 
able  to  preside  at  important  council  meetings  and  to  contribute 
a  goodly  share  to  the  discussions. 

The  size  and  shape  of  a  man's  head  is  not  always  a  safe  guide 
to  his  ability,  but  Kickham's  head  enclosed  a  very  efficient  brain. 
It  was  so  large  that  his  hat  went  down  over  the  top  of  my  ears, 
while  the  same  size  fitted  O'Donovan  Rossa,  Thomas  Francis 
Bourke,  Ricard  O'Sullivan  Burke  and  myself,  and  each  of  us  had 
larger  than  the  average  sized  Irish  head.  Dr.  George  Sigerson, 
who  had  a  fine  mind,  had  precisely  the  same  kind  of  massive 
head  as  Kickham. 



Elisee  Reclus  in  his  great  work  on  Physical  Geography  says 
that  the  skulls  of  the  Bohemians  (who  are  fairly  representative 
of  all  the  Slavs)  indicated  greater  natural  brain  power  than 
those  of  the  Teutons  and  that  it  was  the  better  education  and 
training  of  the  Germans  which  gave  them  their  superiority.  The 
Slav  head  is  very  like  the  Celtic.  A  German  barber  in  the 
Foreign  Legion  once  said  that  the  heads  of  the  Irishmen  were 
like  a  "brosse  a  Tripoli" — the  long  brush  with  which  the  brass 
buttons  of  the  blue  tunic  then  worn  by  the  French  infantry, 
when  inserted  in  a  button  stick,  were  cleaned — and  he  found 
those  of  many  Bavarians  and  Rhine  Prussians  the  same.  That 
was  because  of  the  strong  Celtic  strain  in  their  blood.  If  he  had 
had  experience  with  Piedmontese  (who  are  Cisalpine  Gauls) 
and  the  Galician  Spaniards  (who  are  purer  Celtic  than  the  Irish) 
he  would  have  made  a  similar  remark. 

Kickham  was  deeply  interested  in  national  affairs  from  his 
young  manhood  and  was  the  real  leader  in  Tipperary,  but  I  be- 
lieve it  was  not  until  1860  that  he  joined  the  I.  R.  B.  In  1863 
Stephens  put  him  on  the  editorial  staff  of  the  Irish  People. 

One  of  Kickham's  few  appearances  at  public  meetings  was 
at  an  open  air  gathering  on  Slievenamon.  A  group  of  well 
meaning,  but  irresponsible  men,  of  whom  John  F.  Finerty  (then 
only  twenty  years  of  age)  was  one  and  Father  Horan  of  Toome- 
vara  another,  had  been  holding  public  meetings,  at  which  fiery 
speeches  were  made,  but  no  resolutions  passed,  and  they  attracted 
the  attention  of  the  English  Government  to  such  an  extent  that 
Lord  Carlisle,  the  Lord  Lieutenant,  undertook  to  reply  to  them 
at  a  cattle  show  at  Callan,  County  Kilkenny.  The  Viceroy's 
speech  was  characteristic  of  the  man  and  the  time,  and  he  used 
a  phrase  that  has  become  historic  because  it  revealed  the  settled 
policy  of  the  Government.  He  said  there  were  "two  voices"  in 
Ireland,  one  speaking  in  wild  and  violent  accents  from  the  top 
of  Slievenamon  and  the  other  at  peaceful  gatherings  like  the 
cattle  show  at  which  he  was  speaking.  Ireland,  he  said,  was 
"destined  by  Providence  to  be  the  fruitful  mother  of  flocks  and 
herds".  This  disclosed  the  purpose  of  the  Government  in  the 
great  Clearances  then  going  on,  of  replacing  human  beings  by 
cattle  for  the  English  market.  The  man  who  had  been  caught, 
with  another  English  aristocrat,  in  the  Sultan's  harem  in  Con- 
stantinople and  had  the  traditional  punishment  inflicted  on  him, 
undertook  to  be  the  interpreter  of  the  will  of  Providence.  Napo- 
leon once  said  that  God  was  on  the  side  of  the  heavy  artillery, 
but  England  always  claimed  to  be  doing  the  Lord's  work  in 
carrying  out  her  Imperialist  policy  and  imposing  her  will  on 
other  peoples. 



Stephens  ordered  the  useless  public  meetings  stopped  and 
sent  Kickham  to  Tipperary  to  preside  at  one  already  called  and 
announce  that  it  would  be  the  last.  He  did  the  work  as  well  and 
tactfully  as  if  he  had  been  in  the  habit  of  presiding  at  meetings 
all  his  life  and  no  further  gatherings  were  held. 

In  1863,  Kickham  visited  the  United  States.  Some  people 
hold  that  he  was  sent  here  by  Stephens  as  an  official  Envoy  to 
the  Fenian  Brotherhood.  Others  claim  that  his  visit  was  on 
private  business,  and  that  while  here  he  was  invited  to  attend 
the  Convention  which  the  Fenian  Brotherhood  held  in  Chicago 
while  a  great  fair  was  in  progress  in  that  city  to  raise  funds  for 
the  organization.  At  all  events,  he  made  a  fine  impression  on 
the  Fenian  leaders  in  America,  and  accomplished  good  results 
while  in  this  country.  The  Scanlan  brothers  with  Henry  C. 
McCarthy,  were  then  the  leading  men  in  Chicago,  P.  W.  Dunne 
not  yet  having  moved  there  from  Peoria.  Michael  Scanlan,  the 
Poet  Laureate  of  American  Fenianism,  had  a  hobby  for  giving 
his  children  old  Irish  names  and  a  son  was  born  to  him  during 
the  fair,  who  is  now  (1928)  one  of  the  leading  judges  in  Chicago. 
Kickham  became  his  Godfather  and  he  was  christened  Kickham 
Scanlan.  He  is  a  credit  to  the  name  he  bears,  a  man  of  high 
character  and  great  ability,  who,  when  nominated  for  the  Bench 
by  the  Republicans,  ran  away  ahead  of  his  ticket  and  secured 
many  Democratic  votes.  He  is  fearless  and  resolute  in  fighting 
corruption  in  public  life  and  has  the  public  confidence  to  an 
unusual  degree.  He  is  a  tall,  slim  man,  with  finely  chiselled 
features,  typical  of  the  best  intellect  of  the  race. 

Under  the  heading  "Leaves  from  a  Journal",  Kickman  wrote 
an  account  of  his  trip,  dealing  only  with  the  public  part  of  it. 
and  giving  his  impressions  of  America,  but  saying  nothing  of  his 
negotiations  with  the  American  Fenian  leaders.  It  was  pub- 
lished in  the  Irish  People  and  made  very  interesting  reading. 

From  the  time  of  his  return  from  America  in  1864,  until  his 
arrest  with  James  Stephens  on  November  11,  1865,  Kickham's 
life  was  uneventful.  He  wrote  articles  in  the  Irish  People,  lived 
quietly  and  attended  no  meetings.  There  were  no  meetings  of 
any  importance  during  that  period  anyhow. 

Kickham  was  placed  on  trial  before  the  Special  Commission, 
consisting  of  Judges  Keogh  and  Fitzgerald,  in  Green  Street  Court- 
house, Dublin,  on  January  5,  1866.  At  the  opening  his  defence 
was  conducted  by  counsel;  but  on  the  judges'  refusal  to  have 
Thomas  Clarke  Luby  produced  as  a  witness,  he  declared  the 
trial  was  a  mockery  and  refused  to  have  any  further  legal  as- 



At  his  trial  there  was  practically  no  evidence  against  him 
except  the  production  of  the  "Executive  Document",  and  Pierce 
Nagle's  testimony  about  his  membership  in  the  organization. 
O'Donovan  Rossa's  sensational  attacks  on  Judge  Keogh  were 
really  intended  to  give  Kickham  time  to  prepare  his  defence, 
as  he  was  to  be  tried  after  Rossa.  Keogh  sentenced  Kickham  to 
fifteen  years'  penal  servitude,  mainly  in  revenge  for  the  articles 
he  wrote  in  the  Irish  People  concerning  the  "hanging  judge"  for 
sentencing  the  two  McCormack  brothers  to  death  on  the  charge 
of  killing  a  Tipperary  landlord  (whom  they  had  not  killed),  on 
wholly  insufficient  and  mainly  perjured  evidence  which  a  packed 
jury  accepted  as  true.  Kickham  addressed  the  jury  in  his  own 

The  following  is  a  newspaper  account  of  the  trial,  in  which 
I  have  made  a  few  slight  verbal  changes: 

"He  began  by  saying  that  a  person  unaccustomed  as  he  was 
to  public  speaking  could  hardly  get  out  his  ideas  at  all  with- 
out preparation,  and  he  had  no  time.  However,  he  made  no 
objection  to  go  on.  No  prisoner,  he  continued,  had  ever  been 
treated  more  unfairly  than  he  was.  Not  only  had  he  to  bear  his 
share  of  calumny,  but  from  the  commencement  of  the  Commis- 
sion, in  every  speech  made  by  the  counsel  for  the  Crown,  his 
name  was  dragged  in,  and  not  alone  that,  but  even  judges  on  the 
bench  did  it.  He  could  not  but  feel  a  little  surprised  when  one 
of  the  judges  read  out  the  names  from  the  'Executive  Docu- 
ment'— Luby,  O'Leary  and  Kickham — and  said  he  shuddered  at 
the  crimes  these  judges  would  commit  if  they  had  the  power.  He 
could  not  help  thinking  that  his  Lordship  should  have  recol- 
lected that  there  was  one  of  these  men  who  was  not  yet  tried, 
and  who  might  be  innocent  of  even  knowing  the  existence  of 
this  document.  So  that  he  considered  he  had  been  tried  and 
found  guilty  five  times  in  that  Courthouse,  and  he  did  not  know 
how  many  times  in  Cork. 

"He  would  now  go  through  the  articles  in  the  indictment, 
but  would  not  read  them  all.  The  first  article  was  one  headed 
'  '82  and  '29'.  If  they  took  the  trouble  of  reading  through  that 
article,  they  would  be  at  a  loss  to  see  why  it  was  that  so  long  an 
article,  with  so  little  treason  in  it,  should  have  the  place  of 
honor.  They  might  not  agree  with  the  writer,  but,  nevertheless, 
what  he  said  was  true,  that  it  would  have  been  well  for  Ireland 
that  the  claims  of  the  loyal  Volunteers  of  '82  had  been  refused, 
for  the  result  would  have  been  complete  Independence.  And  let 
them  look  back  upon  the  history  of  this  country — not  a  gleam 
of  sunshine,  the  sufferings  of  the  people,  and  the  Exodus.  What 



Irishman  could  look  upon  the  eighty-four  years  which  had  passed 
and  would  not  say:  'In  God's  name,  give  us  our  country  to  our- 
selves, and  let  us  see  what  we  can  do  with  it.' 

"There  was  not  much  Treason  in  that.  Perhaps  it  was  in  the 
'29  part  of  the  article  the  Treason  was.  The  purport  of  that 
portion  was,  that  if  the  English  Government  refused  Emanci- 
pation, the  Roman  Catholics  would  have  taken  up  arms,  and 
that  the  liberal  Protestants  would  have  joined  them.  The  Duke 
of  Wellington  said  the  same  thing,  and  he  must  say  that  a 
Bishop  in  America  was  so  oblivious  of  his  allegiance  as  to  organ- 
ize forty  thousand  armed  Fenians,  to  send  them  to  Ireland,  if 
the  Government  refused  Emancipation. 

"There  was  one  good  thing  that  the  Fenians  did.  He  said  that 
concessions  to  Ireland  had  been  always  the  result  of  Fenianism 
in  some  shape  or  other.  The  English  Government,  however, 
while  making  concessions,  always  expected  to  get  something 
in  return;  and,  he  believed,  they  had  never  been  disappointed. 
Not  only  had  they  stipulated  upon  getting  prompt  pay- 
ment, but,  also,  they  got  a  large  instalment  in  advance.  And 
here  he  could  not  help  referring  to  the  publication  of  Sir  John 
Gray's  affidavit,  which  he  stated  he  withheld,  afraid  it  would 
injure  the  prisoners  on  their  trial,  and  yet  that  very  affidavit 
was  published  on  the  eve  of  his  trial. 

"To  return  to  the  article  '  '82  and  '29',  he  repeated,  they 
would  find  very  little  Treason  in  it.  Why,  then,  had  it  been 
placed  on  the  front  of  the  indictment?  That  was  done  for  a 
passage  in  it  referring  to  Roman  Catholic  judges,  and  Roman 
Catholic  placemen,  in  which  it  was  said:  'The  Catholic  judge 
will  prove  as  iniquitous  a  tool  of  tyranny,  as  the  most  bigoted 
Orange  partisan  would  be.'  It  would  not  do  for  the  Attorney- 
General  to  select  articles  in  which  one  of  the  judges  was  men- 
tioned by  name  in  the  severest  language.  That  would  be  going 
too  far.  Judge  Keogh  said  he  had  never  seen  a  copy  of  the  Irish 
People,  and  Kickham  believed  that  if  his  Lordship  had  seen  these 
articles,  he  would  have  tried  to  avoid  sitting  in  judgment  on  the 
men  who  were  accused  of  being  the  writers  of  them. 

"But  the  Attorney-General  knew  of  them,  and  he  believed  that 
the  articles  he  alluded  to  had  been  placed  in  the  front  for  the 
purpose  of  prejudicing  Roman  Catholic  judges  against  the  pris- 
oners they  would  have  to  try;  and  the  Special  Commission  was 
appointed — if  that  was  the  word — for  the  sole  purpose  of  en- 
abling them  to  select  the  judges,  and  that  it  was  the  best  mode 
of  following  up  the  attempt  to  put  down  the  organization,  by 
trampling  on  the  law,  and  then  following  that  up  by  trampling 



on  the  law  of  morality  and  decency.  If  it  were  necessary  to  in- 
terrupt him,  Mr.  Lawless  would  communicate  their  Lordships' 
wishes  to  him. 

"Justice  Keogh:    'Not  at  all.  Proceed.' 

"The  prisoner  went  on  to  say  that  the  jury  might  be  told  that 
all  this  was  beside  the  question.  But  he  denied  this.  He  empha- 
sized that  English  rule  in  Ireland  was  on  trial.  The  Gov- 
ernment admitted  the  existence  of  a  wide-spread  conspiracy, 
both  in  Ireland  and  America;  but  this  only  showed  that  the 
treatment  by  England  of  Ireland  had  been  judged  and  con- 

"After  a  number  of  observations  of  an  exculpatory  character, 
he  quoted  Thomas  Davis: 

"  'The  tribune's  tongue  and  poet's  pen 
May  sow  the  seed  in  slavish  men, 
But  'tis  the  soldier's  sword  alone 
Can  reap  the  harvest  when  'tis  grown.' 

"The  man  who  wrote  those  lines  did  his  best  to  make  the  Irish 
people  a  military  people.  A  few  years  before  his  death  his 
friends  observed  in  his  library  a  number  of  military  books,  such 
as  those  found  in  the  office  of  the  Irish  People,  and  he  would 
say,  'These  are  what  Irishmen  want — this  is  what  they  should 
learn.'  His  statue,  by  Hogan,  is  now  in  Mount  Jerome.  The 
whole  Nation  mourned  his  death,  and  all  creeds  and  classes 
gathered  round  his  grave.  Thomas  Davis  saw  the  peasants' 
cabins  pulled  down  by  the  landlords,  and  witnessed  the  suffer- 
ing of  the  people,  and  he  wrote: 

"God  of  justice!"  I  sighed,  "send  Your  spirit  down 

"On  these  lords  so  cruel  and  proud, 
"And  soften  their  hearts  and  relax  their  frown, 

"Or  else,"  I  cried  aloud — 
"Vouchsafe  Thy  strength  to  the  peasant's  hand 
"To  drive  them  at  length  from  off  the  land!" 

"The  prisoner  concluded  by  saying,  'What  did  the  Irish  People 
say  worse  than  that?  I  have  done  no  more  than  he  has  done; 
sentence  me  to  a  felon's  doom  if  you  choose.' " 

After  his  conviction  Kickham  was  sent,  with  O'Leary,  Luby, 
Rossa  and  others  to  Pentonville  Prison  in  London,  and  after  nine 
months  there  they  were  transferred  to  Portland,  where  the  work 
was  stonecutting.  Kickham  was  wholly  unfitted  for  hard  labor, 
and  in  a  little  while  was  sent  to  the  invalid  prison  at  Woking, 
where  the  work  was  lighter,  but  still  too  hard  for  a  man  in  his 
condition.  He  remained  in  Woking  until  his  release,  with  sev- 
eral others,  in  March,  1869,  and  came  out  broken  in  health. 



After  the  election  of  O'Donovan  Rossa  as  a  Member  of  Par- 
liament for  Tipperary  in  1869  had  been  annulled  by  the  British, 
there  was  a  difference  of  opinion  among  the  Nationalists  of  that 
County  as  to  the  advisability  of  letting  their  protest  rest  there 
or  putting  up  another  candidate.  Finally  Kickham  was  nomi- 
nated. While  he  polled  more  votes  than  Rossa,  the  West  British 
candidate,  Heron,  considerably  increased  his  poll  of  the  previous 
November,  and  defeated  Kickham  by  a  margin  of  four  votes,  the 
poll  being  1668  to  1664.  Manhood  suffrage  was  unknown  in  Ire- 
land in  those  days.  A  debt  was  incurred  for  the  expenses  of  the 
two  elections,  and  the  money  to  pay  it  was  raised  later  in 

The  women  of  Tipperary  made  a  beautiful  green  silk  flag  for 
the  Sixty-ninth  Regiment  of  New  York  and  T.  P.  O'Connor  of 
Laffana  was  sent  out  to  present  it.  A  committee  was  formed  in 
New  York  and  it  organized  a  great  demonstration  at  Bellevue 
Garden,  at  which  General  George  B.  McClellan,  former  Com- 
mander of  the  Army  of  the  Potomac,  presented  the  flag  to  the 
Regiment.  "Little  Mac"  was  the  idol  of  the  old  soldiers  and  a 
great  throng  crowded  the  park  to  witness  the  presentation. 
Colonel  James  Cavanagh  received  it  on  behalf  of  the  Sixty-ninth, 
and  enough  money  was  collected  to  pay  the  Tipperary  debt. 
Though  the  Regiment  carried  a  green  flag,  in  addition  to  the 
Stars  and  Stripes,  in  all  its  battles  during  the  Civil  War,  this 
green  flag  from  Tipperary  has  never  been  used  in  public  by  the 
Sixty-ninth,  but  has  been  kept  in  the  regimental  armory. 

Kickham,  after  release,  lived  for  a  time  in  Mullinahone  and 
then  moved  to  Dublin,  where  he  made  his  home,  first  with  his 
brother  Alexander,  and  then  with  James  O'Connor,  his  fellow- 
prisoner,  who  later  became  Member  of  Parliament  for  West 
Wicklow.  In  Blackrock  he  was  knocked  down  by  a  jaunting  car 
while  crossing  the  street  and  the  injuries  which  he  sustained 
shortened  his  life. 

Some  time  during  this  period  I  received  the  only  letter  I  ever 
got  from  him,  which  showed  the  keen  interest  he  took  in  current 
literature.  He  asked  me  to  get  him  a  cheap  copy  of  George 
Eliot's  "Adam  Bede",  as  he  had  heard  that  American  publishers 
were  in  the  habit  of  getting  out  cheap,  paper  covered  editions 
(pirated,  of  course),  of  the  latest  English  books.  I  couldn't  get 
one  and  I  heard  he  was  greatly  disappointed. 

Before  Kickham  became  Chairman  of  the  Supreme  Council 
of  the  reorganized  I.  R.  B.,  James  F.  X.  O'Brien,  who  was  after- 
wards a  Member  of  Parliament,  filled  that  office  for  some  time. 
I  don't  know  the  date  of  Kickham's  selection,  but  he  was  Chair- 



man  in  1878,  when  I  sent  the  cablegram  to  Parnell  offering  him 
the  support  of  the  American  organization  (meaning  the  Clan- 
na-Gael)  on  certain  conditions.  I  sent  it  to  Kickham  asking 
him  to  give  it  to  Parnell.  Kickham  forwarded  it  without  com- 
ment, as  he  did  not  want  to  be  held  responsible  for  its  contents. 
When  I  went  over  in  December  of  that  year  a  meeting